one can bang the door.. but the other has to run away


When your teen age daughter or mine gets angry, or upset, or has a fight with the family.. she bangs the door of her room, pops up the volume and waits for one of us to come by.. and make things right

when Durga has a fight she leaves home, wanders dark unsafe streets and lands up at the remand home..

Yet they are both children of India, both have parents and families... so why the difference..

Durga is our little mr popples a.ka. Utpal's half sister..

Durga was born of the loveless union of a young girl married off to an older man ; it was later found out he was already married.. The young mother was left alone with a child who from the moment of her birth had become an impediment.. She later found another man who promised to take her away from the dreary small village lost somewhere in Bengal and take her to the big city... but he did not want Durga..

Durga grew up in the care of her granny, a free and rebellious child who never found answers for all the questions that she encountered.. granny loved her in her own way but was too old to instill any discipline or order in Durga's existence.. sometimes an almost unknown mom use to come, ladden with gifts and stories, but left too soon to answer any of the now disturbing questions..

Two years back she even heard about the terrible accident her half brother had.. but what could she do.. then a few months back, as she entered her 12th year granny died and her uncle brought her to delhi... she met her new 'dad' and her little endearing half brother.. and above all city life.. where your world is a tiny airless room..

Gone were the fields where you could run, the small vilage where everyone knew you and you felt safe.. this was a whole new ball game and no one had taught her the rules.. and above she had to get used to mom, who was a far cry from the nice smiling woman who had appeared and dispappeared..

So the battle of wits began: each one tried her best, but so much time had passed.. sometimes there was violence, particularly on nights when dad brought a bottle.. she discovered another side of her mom, one that did not fit any of the images she had conjured till now..

One night the fight was too much to bear and Durga ran away.. the parents too drunk to know what had actuatlly happened did not realise her flight till the next day.. by that time Durga had been found by the police patrol and sent to the remand home for children.. a lovely hurting child who had committed no crime.. she was just trying to cope with life..

The police came, the social workers came, the mother was made to feel guilty.. little Durga felt a misplaced sense of importance and declared she did not want to come home but wanted to go with the 'ladies'!

Days passed and Durga's family just got on with the task of existing.. I guess the mom felt that she was safe and anyway the Nirmal Chayya institution was near Tihar jail.. miles away..

I had made a mental note of trying to find out about Durga but I must confess that I did not.. a phone call from a kind hearted social officer jolted me back to reality.. she wanted Jhunnu to come and meet her daughter... I decided to go along because I knew inside me that the mother and daughter had to get reunited..

I will not go into the details of the harrowing experience of dealing with the juvenile justice department and the Children's court.. but simply say that maybe they should walk urban slum streets and get in touch with the real world.. where children become adults and priorities do not obey the law of western child psychology..

All praise to Sapna and her kind heart as she guided me through this unknown world as she more than anyone else understood that Durga had to be rescued from this place and taken home..

It took all the patience I had to answer the incomprehensible and absurd questions thrown at me by people who did not even bother to look in the eye..

Durga was finally released under my supervision and has come home to her loving family, who maybe does not love the way we would imagine, but nevertheless do!

Now mother and daughter have to make up for lost time under the supervision of Utpal whose joy knows no bounds at being reunited with his sibling...

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