Modern day kids are smart enough to realise Santa exists only in fantasy, it’s estimated that Santa Claus still receives thousands of wish letters from children all across the globe. But well, the letters are in the decline. Though data on child rape and molestation is not on the decline across the globe. Both USA and India have seen a sharp rise of such cases and worse still the sick society is throwing up cases where children are molested by their near and dear ones. And to keep our children safe from the hands of paedophiles, we start teaching them about ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ at a very early age. Blue Eve asks aren’t children affected by such apprehensions and how does a girl child these days view the world as? Our columnist lays bare the fears of an eight-year- old girl, Mishti, in the sick society, exclusively for Different Truths.
We are all set to celebrate Christmas soon all across the globe and the minute we speak of Christmas, what flashes past our mind is snow, carols, parties, cakes and yes that white-bearded, plump man, who comes on his reindeer sleigh in the middle of the night. Not to forget those socks that would be filled with goodies the next morning. Yes, Santa Claus. Though modern day kids are smart enough to realise Santa exists only in fantasy, it’s estimated that Santa Claus still receives thousands of wish letters from children all across the globe. But well, the letters are in the decline. Though data on child rape and molestation is not on the decline across the globe. Both USA and India have seen a sharp rise of such cases and worse still the sick society is throwing up cases where children are molested by their near and dear ones. And to keep our children safe from the hands of paedophiles, we start teaching them about ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ at a very early age. An age where we in our childhood dreamt of fairy lands and took Santa Claus as real. We never questioned him, for we didn’t grow up. We still had a childhood left. But keeping in mind the changing society parents have to educate even kindergarten kids about such disturbing sick acts. But aren’t children affected by such apprehensions and how does a girl child these days view the world as? And view Santa as?
One such child, Mishti, from India, a lovely, bubbly 8-year- old. writes a letter to Santa Claus expressing her apprehensions.
Dear Santa Claus,
I don’t want chocolates or books this year. I am upset not with studies but a strange fear every time any uncle comes near me. You are also a man, isn’t it? Then do you touch us in the ‘bad way’ as my mom and teacher has warned us about? My friend Trisha came to school the other day after a week. We thought she had contracted fever and was confined to bed. But later friends told me she was ‘badly’ touched by our bus driver uncle. But I loved this uncle a lot. He used to crack jokes with us and if ever the bus got stuck in a traffic jam and any girl was upset, he used to wipe away our tears and give us candies. I got hurt on my knee once when the bus jerked, and he had tended to my bruise. But well, now that I think of it, he had put his hands inside my panties. I felt a bit weird as my mom said no one should do that, but he said if he does it, the pain on my knee will subside. It’s an old trick that his grandma had taught him to tend bruises. I never told my parents about it though. Dear Santa do you also touch us when you come to give gifts in the middle of the night? We must be then fast asleep. Do you kiss us?
Mommy says kisses too are of various types. And never allow a man to kiss you, just shout out if he does. But didn’t the prince kiss Cinderella when they got married? I thought kisses are a show of love. Our parents even went to school to meet the principal and protest after Trisha joined. Why did they do it? Driver kaku (uncle) has lost his job. But he used to tell us he has children of our age. What would they eat then, if their father is sacked?
Mom sat with me the other day and asked me all questions: ‘Has anyone ever pinched you between your thighs? Has anyone held you close?’ Dear Santa you better give me a proper anatomy book instead of the Peter Pan you had promised me last year. I really do not know all my body parts in details, other than eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, lips and of course my hands and legs. My best friend Laila said there is something called vagina. When I asked my mommy about it, she suddenly went silent and looked at dad. Dad said, “It’s a word from outer space.”
Every day, when I go to school, I meet an old man at the bus stop, who returns from his morning walk. Daddy calls him Mr. Pawar. He often gives me a toffee or two. But once he leaves my dad says I shouldn’t accept even a candy from him when dad isn’t around. Mom was so furious the other day when I told her of Pawar granddad that she said I must keep away from any man of any age!
I am confused dear Santa. I used to live in the fantasylands of Peter Pan and Cinderella. Even in The Beauty and the Beast, the beast never hurt the girl, did he? He came out to be the Prince Charming in the end. Then what is it all about good and bad touches, what is it all about feeling scared of any stranger. I am afraid of kidnappers no doubt, if they ever take me away from my parents. But why should I be frightened of uncles and driver kaku and Ramu mama, who comes to give us milk every day? And please remember this time do not come at night. Come during the day when my parents are around? And yes, I want to be loved by you and also by every man, I need brothers, uncles and men like daddy to help me feel secure and loved. Tell mommy and daddy they are thinking wrong.
Your little friend,
Photos from the Internet.
Saheli Mitra is a journalist, blogger and internationally published poet and author. She is co-partner and founder of Talespin Media. Her poems have been published in several national and international printed and online anthologies. Her debut novel Lost Words was an Amazon bestseller. Her shorts stories have featured in printed collections like “Half Baked Love” and “Knitted Narratives”. She primarily writes on women issues. She also runs her Nature Group called “To Trees with Love”.