I'm sorry Baby Falak, I failed you
I'm always on Twitter, addicted to news. Tonight I lost interest in how many people retweet me. I do not care if you read this post. Hell, I won't even promote it on Twitter. But I need to say this. Because tomorrow, my feelings will be dulled by the pressure that a journalist goes through every day covering news that fills the space that need to be filled.
I will tell you why I cried when the first tweet came in that Baby Falak has died. Who is Baby Falak, you ask me. I won't tell you that she is the victim of our system. That is too pompous. Battered and left to die on a hospital bed at one of India's premier medical institutions, she is a two-year-old whose masked photographs I saw on agency picture feed and on news dailies.
Most newspapers dropped the pretense of masking her face after the first week when rivals carried graphic photos of her lying in a tiny corner on a big hospital bed. That's how I first saw the bruises on her face, bite marks on her skin. I always marvelled at the tiny portion she filled of a large bed swathed in bandages.
I am a 31-year-old woman masquerading as a film journalist. But when the deadlines have been met, I am like you, trying to imagine myself as a mother. I am unequipped for the job, but what the hell, there's no dream not worth living, right? That's why I cried. Because like everyone else I failed you, baby Falak.
Like your 14-year-old caregiver who beat you up. She must have had her issues. I'm trying to imagine what I was like when I was 14. I never can, because I haven't been abused at 14 like she had. But is there a justification for cruelty?
But I am as guilty as her. Tomorrow, Baby Falak, the morning news coverage will be taken up by other burning issues. What's a Budget, you ask? Silly girl, it's what kept you struggling for your life at AIIMS for so many days. It's what gave you the care and comfort you needed in your last days. When daily updates from the hospital stopped getting front page coverage I did not bother to find out how you are doing. Will you understand if I said I'm sorry?
Play a lot where you've gone and laugh at us idiots when we devote the front page of newspapers to politics, economics and power games.
(Baby Falak, the two-year-old child who was abused and battered, died after suffering a cardiac arrest in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Trauma Centre in New Delhi on March 15.
Falak, who was brought to AIIMS in a battered condition two months back, was on March 2 shifted from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to the children's ward after doctors had found her medical condition stable. The doctors had in fact expressed hope that the child would be discharged from the hospital soon.
Falak was brought to the hospital with severe head injuries, broken arms, bite marks all over her body and cheeks branded with hot iron. The doctors had conducted six life saving surgeries on her.
A 14-year-old girl who had left Falak at the hospital is currently in a juvenile care home. She has admitted to battering the child because she could not take care of her. The teen has been charged with culpable homicide.)
More about Rituparna ChatterjeeIn her 10 years in the media, Rituparna has worked both on the field as a reporter as well as off it, on the desk. Lover of cumin flavoured "authentic" Chinese food. God is watching but that's no compulsion to keep the desktop neat.
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