A young man crossed the road. There … was a young woman. I was a witness, by happenchance in my car, the traffic slow enough to allow me a few minutes of coincidental observation.
What I saw was ordinary and unremarkable. Except that just a few minutes before, the newsreader on the radio spoke of the case of Anene Booysen. Yes, it’s true that we are desensitised to many aspects of crime and daily bad news. And perhaps we are overwhelmed with the frequent confusing reports of violence against women and young girls, not just locally but in India and the rest of the world too. With a shell-shocked unconsciousness, it was easy for what I saw to make so great an impact. Respecting the concept of balance, I believe there are always two sides of the scale. So because I am desensitised to something, I must be sensitised to something else.
What I saw was a young man approach a young woman and embrace her with gentle, caring tenderness. He beheld her as one does something of worth and value. And in those few fragile and innocent moments he did more than embrace her. He made my sore and weary unconsciousness smile. He wiped away my accumulated emotional tiredness, a load I realised I was carrying unaware. Unknowingly, he told me another story. Unlike the stories of girls and women treated with brutality, he told me a story of a man who cares for a woman in the way that should be normal, but is not.
Thank you, young man. For caring for that young woman who trusts you. You did something for her, a simple gesture – yet it was enormous - because it lacked any threat. You did something for me – you changed the story from a negative into a positive, and you did something for the collective hurt of women and girls globally – you made it safe and OK to be with you.
I smiled – with my face and my spirit – as I observed you and your girl walk happily on. You with your cap and shorts and she equally casually dressed. A beautiful picture of innocent happiness. A brief reflection of perfection, the way society should be, instead of an imaginary picture reserved for the delusion of heaven. Thank you, young man – for getting it right – here and now.
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