we drove down abour 200 kms to pondy to hurry our vacation over — we finished day 2 and day 3 of vacation in a pondyblur. #utbthowareyoudoing
when we went to the jawahar bal bhavan to entertain our boys, i stumbled on to the child sexual harassment bomb ticking away…
this is what happens. ma’s friend who lives in pondicherry for the last 28 years filled in some of the blanks …
the auto drivers of pondicherry have sorta evolved this into a tradition.
apparently on the last day of the school holidays, the autodriver ‘uncle’ takes the girls — these are children on his regular school pickup and drop — for a joyride. he takes them to the park or a beach, and the wholetime the children are unsupervised by other adults or parents.
my ma’s friend says she has seen autodrivers on the beach ‘misbehave’ with the girls… and the school children, between 8 and 12 years old, seldom protest, since the autodriver is an adult they trust.
the logic is this…
1. since he is being paid for the school holidays, two months salary — so this is a treat that he gives. he buys the kids crisps, soda and cookies from his salary.
and takes them in his auto to a ‘fun’ place.
2. but schoolboys are never taken on such a joyride by autodrivers, says ma’s friend.
this is what i saw…
1. the auto chappie took the girls on the toy train
2. he played a whispering game — where he whispered a secret into everyone of their ears.
3. he gave them juice when they said they were thirsty.
4. they were going to play hide and seek next, the girls said.
5. don’t you girls want to go home, he asked. no uncle we want to play, they chorused.
6. the bal bhavan is an isolated kind of place… it’s the middle of the week.
on the one hand, there might be the genuine avuncular auto driver. taking the girl for a friendly ride … it’s unfair to paint all men black.
but the tradition, i think, is a completely unecessary one…
ma, who came with me, was furious the whole time. ”i brought up a daughter. and i certainly wouldnt send her on this if she was under 10 years old. i wonder if the parents have any idea about what is hapenning…”
you see what i saw …