A week before Holi as I was standing before a school in my neighborhood someone dropped a 500 ml water plastic bag from a four storied building. Aimed at my head it landed on my feet. I frantically searched for the culprit and found no one.
A few days later another kid hit me with a water plastic bag on my forehead. He ran away as I called out to him.
Yesterday as I was walking to university at around 1p.m someone hit me with a water balloon. ‘Who did it?’ I asked .A young man sitting comfortably with his gang in a near by shop replied ‘I did, what will you do? ‘. I asked again and got the same answer. I picked up a pebble and threw at him. He got up, uprooted a bamboo stick used to bar the shop and beat me ruthlessly. ‘Do you know who I am’ he shouted. His gang members stopped him and one of them asked me to leave. I kept staring at him. A little crowd had gathered to watch-no one came to my help. I walked to the university catching my arm in pain.
My right elbow is swollen and I have bruises on my back. This is not some snippet of a feature film. This is what really happened. If you have a story to share please do.
Be responsible ! Do not play with water balloons or hesitate to help someone who has been a victim!
Source: A newly opened Facebook group called ” Be A Hero! Say No To Water Balloons ! “
This is definitely not the first this has happened. A girl who walks out of her house minding her own business, days if not weeks before Holi gets hit with a water-filled balloon namely ‘Lola’. A girl who retaliates back at the perpetrators is a rarer event. But a girl who dares to retaliate throwing back a pebble gets mercilessly beaten up by a bamboo stick is something I have, for one, heard for the first time. Yes, there’s an apathetic audience who see everything but do not help. That should be a rare event in the all-change-seeking-revolutionary Nepal after April 2006 but it isn’t. Whether it be the beating up of a woman publicly in the heart of the city, Ratnapark, while people flash their cameras in front of her face rather than helping her or Banda hooligans targeting a school van carrying little kids, its all a symbol of what we have become. A society that might as well declare its moral bankruptcy.
Holi like most Hindu festivals is ‘supposed’ to celebrate the victory of the good over the bad. I will be surprised if the contemporary ‘Lola-Goons’ know of Holika or Hiranyakashyapu or Prahalad. I don’t think knowing the history behind anything is a Goon thing either. The most disturbing part of this event however, is the fact that how members of the female sex are targeted by males regardless of their age. This is not to overlook the fact that men are targeted by females too, but NEVER at this scale.
I have no pity for any one who hits others with lolas. Be it a boy of ten, fourteen or twenty. I don’t think childhood is an excuse for bad behavior. And having been a victim of school bullies very early in my life I refuse to see children as the embodiments of innocence. But children lurking in allies, in school buses, in the retail shops are not the same as children living in hostels like I was where many events go unnoticed. The children with lolas in public places have so many elders around them. What sort of parenting do the parents of the boys who learn to hit lolas at every female in sight do? What is that they are trained to think? Are they fed with Manu’s ‘women like drums are to be hit’? Children have a mind of their own so parenting alone cannot be blamed. So the most important question is -why does no one stop them? Why is there a crowd of Lola goons way before the ONE DAY festival? Why are they tolerated? Does it give it some sort of ego-boost to the men around them while seeing a woman being hit with the balloon- Here flies the mark of the male superiority right on your face!?! Do the women feel- Its OK unless I am the victim? Every year, there is one woman or the other who is a victim of the lola. A woman passed out, broke her bones, hurt her face and the latest addition: Got Beaten Up for Retaliating. Add – And I Looked on because I am a Coward.
I looked on because I study in the biggest private university in Nepal and have other things to worry about. I looked on because it’s not ME but a fellow student of the university. I merely looked because I have no guts to stand up for anything. And a mob of the likes of ‘Me’s makes this society I live in.
An apathetic, inhumane, morally bankrupt society.
P.S : I don’t believe in the power of Many when the ‘one’ that makes the ‘many’ is worthless.