Uncles on the Prowl

“Ma’m, I’m leaving the school,” the girl from grade four came into my room and stated this without any sort of introduction.
It did not surprise me in the least – just another one of those frequently heard statements in any private school around here where students keep on shifting schools for no reason. Still for the sake of asking I enquired the reason.
And the reply, a bit long narrative delivered nonchalantly by the pretty little girl, was listened to by me on tenterhooks!!
“Something unpleasant happened in our family,” said the girl and I told myself, “That’s it… someone ill or dead, or some usual permit issues.”
I was prejudiced.
“Last week my mother sent me out to buy something from the bakala (small shop) in our neighbourhood. There I met one …uncle (Here even children could identify the nationality seeing the outfits, but anyway that is irrelevant here). He told me he was my father’s friend and that he would take me home. I was even offered some sweets.”
At this point I couldn’t help interrupting her, “You knew him? Was he really your father’s friend?”
“No, even though I hesitated to go with him he insisted. He was talking very softly in a friendly manner.. I couldn’t refuse… thought it would be rude.”
“So you actually went out with him?”
By now the teacher and mother in me took over and started advising her at the wrong point, forgetting that the full story was not yet told.
The rest of the story seemed familiar like some scenes from those rare socially relevant films – the scenes which we watch with our hearts in our mouths.
“He took me to a dilapidated building nearby. At a distance in the premises of the building I saw some men having their food. But they did not notice us. May be that’s why he told me to remove my sandals, so as not to attract their attention. He made me walk into the building, barefooted. I was really scared and said I wanted to go home. He assured me he would take me back after sometime. That did not convince me and I started to cry. You know, he slapped me on my face and ordered me to keep quiet!! I couldn’t do that and I yelled. Luckily I heard the approaching footsteps – he too did. In a great hurry the man abandoned me and disappeared!”
I gave out a sigh of relief! Thank God for the courage You gave the girl to scream and for sending those men there!
I could sense every single moment of it, vicariously.
All through last part of the story I was praying although I knew it was all over. Concealing my anxiety was really hard. At last when I heard she was safe I couldn’t swallow it as such.
“But nothing happened, still why are you leaving?”
“My mother is upset and doesn’t want us to continue here anymore. She says we should go back to our country.”
Quite natural. I understand the mother. What else could she do after such an ordeal?
However, I just hope – let her decision serve the purpose; let it not turn futile. Let there be Guardian Angels to save each child in trouble, wherever they are, from the uncles lurking incognito – in all types of outfits!

6 responses to “Uncles on the Prowl

  1. Excellent

  2. Teacher, after reading this, I am too afraid….I liked your narration….let us pray to God to protect all children from such devils…….

  3. Really scary.Poor girl …..a fourth std. student experiencing such an accident – it’s really dangerous. Is it really true Mam???Did she leave our school? Let God protect all of us from all such uncles and aunties…

    • That happened a few years back. But anyway she was safe, by the grace of God! Children are never much bothered about the dangers lurking, unless they confront one.

  4. Scary. Scarier still is the fact that unlike this stranger, most of the “uncles” are well known to the young ones who become the victims.
    The little girl here was really brave; maybe it was just gut instinct, but luckily it worked at the right moment, when she screamed. But returning “home”, if it is in India… well, I wonder if it is any safer. Only when we are able to continue to remind both parents and the children, the younger, the better, of how to stay safe and recognize the signs can we even think of breathing a tiny sigh of relief. Most often the parents, and sometimes, teachers, turn a deaf ear to things told to them, and that makes things worse!
    Pertinent post. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Thank you, Usha, for that thoughtful comment.
      I too had the same fear – how safe India would be for that little girl. Hope the family is living happily now. Perverts are hard to recognize.

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