Little Lali is just little over a month old. She was born with a rare medical condition that gave her two eyes, two mouth, one chin and one pair of ears. When you look at her picture she just looks like any child, sleeping without a care in the world.
As soon as news of her birth was heard ritual India woke up once again and heralded the reincarnation of Goddess Durga. And as the news spread religious frenzy was out at its best. And little innocent Lali became the centre of a media blitz and even war. The family started minting money! News channel fought for exclusivity, people offered money, there were even those who wanted a temple built in her name! The world wide web was buzzing about her and all kind of questions were being fired: is she one or two individuals? does she have one or two souls? Only one thing seemed to be clear. Though she seemed to be all right, having two skulls fused together makes surgical intervention impossible.
For those who want more information on Lali a search on Google is ample. This post is not intended to throw light or sensationalize Lali's story. There is enough of that. I simply want to highlight some issues which seem to have taken a back seat amidst all this frenzy.
In India we have just ended the 9 days of worship to Durga, the Prime Goddess. This happens twice a year. People fast, go to temples, and make offerings and on the last day worship little girls. Almost three years back I had written about this very ritual in a post entitle: Why am I being worshiped today?
To be born a girl in India is not bed of roses. What awaits you is a akin to a game of Russian roulette. The number of girls killed before they are born is chilling and the policies that the Government comes up with are zany and amidst all this our little girl child simply survives.
But let us get back to Lali. One God knows how long this little endearing little soul will survive. Her plight reminds me of that of circus freaks of the XIXth century or the Elephant Man so beautifully portrayed in a sensitive David Lynch film. As a friend said maybe little Lali with two brains has exceptional qualities and intelligence. But would these ever be honed and allowed to bloom. The way things stand in India she will never attend a school, or be allowed to live the normal life of a child. Her odd appearance will always stand in the way of every step she takes. How long with the family so willing to accept her now, will continue to do so? How long with the press so eager to get their exclusivity continue to consider her TRP worthy? How long will the people flock to her home to worship her a throw few coins her way? How soon will she be forgotten? How soon will she become another medical case to experiment on? How soon will someone decide that she is not a Goddess but a demon? I have already heard such whispers.
My heart goes out to little Lali who looks so innocent and unaware of what is going on around her and wonder what plan God has for her. My heart goes out to Lali as I sit wondering what one can do to make her life simply normal.
Sadly I cannot at this moment see any solution.