Meghalaya as a State has been blessed with beauty, traditions, hospitality, honesty and talents, among many other things. But as a citizen of it, I’m concerned for my State. “Will the beauty of my State stay with us in the future?”
What makes me question and write is because I see the “fear”. As a mother, I’m blessed to have a son who’s being appreciated for his kind and humble nature but the question always arises: “Is he safe from fear?” For me ‘fear’ is not violence or agitation but the “Fear of Trust”.
On December 6, 2023, my son appeared for his B Sc examination where students were directed to keep their bags outside the hall. The bag carried his wallet with cash and important IDs. But when he came out of the examination hall, he found his wallet was missing. On seeing that, he went to talk to the concerned authority to report the matter. But the reply was, “We are not responsible for it”. As a mother, I consoled my son and said,” Let this Christmas your money be a blessing for the needy and come to you with more of it”.
But the question arises, Who’s being irresponsible here?: My son who kept his bag outside the examination hall; the concerned authority, who directed the students to keep their bag outside and also not taking responsibility for any damage or loss; the thief, who stole the wallet and that too from inside the campus. So, what are we losing here? I, and my son, are losing ‘Trust’.
Talking about ‘Trust’, it happened a few years ago when I, along with my mother and a friend, took a walk back home from Rhino Point. We saw two young boys strangling a man in the bushes beside the footpath. We thought the man was drunk and the boys were helping him but a few minutes later the man shouted, ‘Thief, Thief’ and the boys fled.
As we walked by, we were shocked and restless, as we could not be of any help. After that, I told my mother those two boys seemed to be from a good family. How could we differentiate thieves nowadays? As for me, I describe a thief in ‘torn and dirty clothes but today’s thieves are well dressed. However, the incident proved that this was not the case anymore. What I lose again is ‘Trust’.
Walking by the road from Civil Hospital Point to Rhino Point on a cloudy and rainy day with an umbrella in one hand and my daughter in the other, I see two boys standing in the middle of the footpath with a powder of plastic filling in the other. I couldn’t even utter a word or look at them, but with ‘Fear’ I pulled my daughter and said, “Do not look back; walk straight to the front”. What am I teaching her ‘not to confront but to Live with Fear?’
Talking about “Live with Fear” in a conversation with my mother she said, “Yes we should be happy and blessed to see our son and daughter are raised well to be good children of the family and the society as well but we should also not be selfish and think only about the good of ours”. Once we focus only on our own and not concern about the good in society, there will be times when we’ll not be able to send our children outside our homes. The words of my mother hit me very hard in which I again gained ‘Fear’ thinking about “What if it happens?”
Thinking about ‘What if it happens?’ As a mother, I controlled my son by restricting him not to give a lift to an unknown person and to a known one too. Don’t park your car too far from your college as you have to walk through the lonely street. You can go out with your friends but reach home on time. You cannot go here and there unless any family member accompanies you, etc…. It is not that I always see the bad in the good but ‘Fear’ has made me believe and act according to what I hear and see around.
All of this has made me ask certain questions to myself: Am I happy being the slave of fear? Am I happy to live with it? In which the question also arises, “Till when?”
“Till when?” is the question for each one of us as I believe someone reading this has gone through what I’ve shared. As a concerned citizen of Meghalaya, I always question myself: “Shall we put the responsibility only on the NGOs, the Dorbar Shnong and the government?” I believe that is an easy way out but that will not solve the problem. Therefore, “Shall we not take the responsibility on ourselves too?”This is what I believe is required right now.
I believe that by taking up the responsibility and coming together, we can create a safe and healthy atmosphere for the present and future generations. And yes, “We” here means for each and every genuine citizen of our State maybe from any community, as I believe working together we can bring about the change in the society.
I know taking up the responsibility is a difficult task but together we must do it for the sake of not just ourselves but also for our children so that they can live a safe and secure future, free of fear and be able to trust the society in which they live. They owe this to us and we may not fail them.
As parents, this is our most important test: creating something better for our children so that they can always remember us with fondness and pride in their hearts. We must not fail this test, we cannot afford to fail this test, and we will not fail this test.