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24 Sep 2014

Bards of the Blogosphere: Chapter 5 (Week 2) - The Calm Before the Storm #CelebrateBlogging

Note: This is the fifth chapter in the "Game of Blogs" by BlogAdda for the team "Bards of the Blogosphere" 




Read the previous part here.

***

“Leaders on the dais and my dear countrymen, a very good morning to all of you!”
 

The crowd roared its approval, with a fanaticism for a political figure that is second nature to Indians alone. The Minister basked in the approval; he sometimes couldn’t decide what he had stepped into politics for – the power or the popularity – while the former gave him the control he craved for, the latter was what went straight to his head like a glass of fine, heady wine.   
 

“I stand before you to ask you, my brothers and sisters, for help…”
 

The crowd quietened down, eager to know how they could help their great leader. 



PC: Here
“…help in grabbing an appalling problem that is weakening the very fabric of our society and removing it right from the roots!”
 

The crowd went ballistic. The Minister smiled and waited for more than a minute before raising his hand. But the moment he did, people stopped clapping abruptly and quietened down.
 

The Minister’s aide sat on one side of the podium, thinking about how he had the crowd eating out of his hands. I don’t have to worry about the next elections, if we keep going this way, he thought wiping spittle off the side of his pan-stained mouth.
 

“Kidnapping the budding youngsters of India and selling them off to the highest bidder for flesh trade, drug peddling, cheap labour, organ transplant, begging and child pornography – there are criminals in the country who are becoming richer than the Tatas and Birlas by doing such nefarious, utterly condemnable activities. One minute the child is safe, ensconced in the love and care of her family and the next, she is stuck forever in the grubby corner of some brothel, lands away from everything she calls home and forced to service men twice her age and do other unimaginable acts. Is this what the world has come to? IS THIS HOW WE TREAT THE LAKSHMIS OF OUR HOMES?!!”
 

The crowd was lapping it all up, he made sure of that. He was a powerful story-teller; his words had moved stones, in the past.
 

“As a son of the soil, as a citizen of this great nation of Bharat, I feel ashamed of myself. Ashamed that I’m not able to protect my daughters, my sisters…. The fact that these men exist, in itself, is a black mark on my face, on my reputation. And I refuse to stand by and watch anymore. I simply refuse.”
 

Cy sat at the podium, waiting to see where this is going. He wondered if something good could actually come out of it – on any other day, he would eat his hat rather than believe an Indian politician but today, today was different. He had an audience with the Minister later and he hoped against hope that that would be a step towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
 

“Let me tell you something….1779 children were kidnapped from their homes and trafficked in 2013 alone. One THOUSAND seven HUNDRED and seventy nine. Does that sound like a statistic to you? A mere number? Let me put a face to that number then, let me enlighten you on what that number means. The “mere” statistic means that, last year, close to two thousand families lost a child – parents losing the apple of their eyes, the one who they gave birth to, nurtured, cared for; siblings losing their playmate, the one who they sat down for dinner with, shared chocolates with, fought with…. All reduced to just a number to us. 

PC: Here
We don’t care, do we? We sit in our houses and say ‘that will never happen to us’ and continue with our lives, not bothered that for every number in the statistic, there is a family ripped to shreds, a life lost to a baseless, animalistic need, need for money, for physical pleasure, for cheap thrills…. An innocent, beautiful, full-of-life child sent to hell to rot for the rest of her life.”
 

The crowd had gone deathly quiet. The purport of his words was sinking in. Jen thought, this, right here, is a lesson in influencing people… Dale Carnegie would be proud. 
 

“I have a request, my dear brothers and sisters, a favor to ask of you loving people. The Government, the ruling party can do only so much to prevent such grave crimes. We do not have eyes and ears everywhere, nor do we have the manpower to combat and put a stop to human trafficking in a country that is home to more than a billion people. 

So I ask YOU to be our eyes and ears, YOU to be our manpower, to co-operate with the authorities to ensure that the action plan we forge is implemented successfully. Report suspicious activities, alert authorities where necessary, stand up for what is right without fearing anyone or anything and put the country’s needs before your own. I ask you to help us save little girls from becoming just another number in yet another statistic. Will you do that for me?”
 

Hearing the rousing words, goose bumps rose on people’s skin. Every last able-bodied man and woman in the crowd swore to be a better citizen and Jen was appreciative of the Minister’s efforts to create awareness, despite being supremely skeptical of the ilk of politicians.   
 

After a few more words on the same lines, the Minister bid adieu and went back to his seat on the podium for a few minutes to a standing ovation, much to his aide’s delight. When the next speaker started his speech, he, quiet as a mouse, walked off the stage and asked to be taken back to his room. 

Almost no one noticed… except Cy. And Jen.
 

Together, but far apart, they thought, “So this is it. In some time, we shall know if the efforts will bear fruit.”
 

And Jen sent up a small prayer towards heaven, “Please keep him safe, Lord. Please.”
 
***



Read the next chapter here.

The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of Divsi, PRB, PeeVee, Arpita, Datta, Neeraj, Nupur, Sulekha, Maria and Roshan.