Dear Clerk and Marie,
This is an open letter to both of you to extend our sympathy and prayers for your quick recovery from what has been a nightmarish few days for you in an outlandish country. This is also an attempt to fathom an occurrence that is rattling in its frequency, nature and motivation.
Ours as a country has an obsession with all things white. Our divergent views have us hopping on either ends of the love-hate spectrum. While on the one hand we will fawn over white models in pretty dresses in glossy magazines, Indian women wearing the same on the streets, on the other hand, will be judged for aping the west (at best) or cat-called (not the worst). These conflicted convictions have us now oscillating between unwarranted bonhomie and violent expressions of revulsion.
The western culture we condemn so vehemently is really a manifestation of our own socio-cultural insecurities. The men who assaulted you were perhaps caught in the web of their own skewed beliefs when they first wished to take pictures with you and then swiveled to the extreme of violence on facing rejection. The concept of rejection is an unfamiliar one in the lives of Indian men and can cause aggression the likes of which you have yourselves unfortunately witnessed. Our moral radar will come abuzz at the sight of a couple even as much as holding hands in public but lose all significance when it comes to shedding blood for a cause (justice here lies in the eye of the beholder).
All however, is not lost. The incident that you have faced has caused uproar in not just Delhi but country-wide. What has happened is reprehensible beyond imagination and the youths responsible for this heinous crime have been arrested, but that’s not it. We as a society have failed, even if not directly involved in the violence you faced, by letting you struggle alone even after. Along with bringing to light the mindset of our co-habitants, this incident has also made many otherwise silent spectators to the state of affairs in Delhi sit up and express their outrage publicly.
This letter points a finger at each one of us responsible for this collective failure, it’s time we became more humane in this fast changing world where we are quickly turning into bots. The only difference is our ability to learn from our mistakes and have a heart, let’s use it.