The Nirbhaya effect

By Suma Varughese

September 2014

The Sathe family outlines ways and means of handling the fear psychosis created by the Nirbhaya case, says Suma Varughese.

The family had gathered as usual for Sunday dinner. The monsoon was still holding sway over Mumbai, and the family was tucking into hot sweet corn soup and garlic bread, followed by steaming pasta. Outside, the rain fell merrily, and the family thought contentedly of water tanks and lakes filling up with the life-giving water.

Nisha had a pensive look on her face. “The rain is lovely, but I do feel bad for all the people and animals who live out on the streets. It’s a miserable time for them.”

“Remember poor Nirbhaya, thrown out of that moving bus in the middle of that freezing Delhi winter?” Alka shuddered dramatically, “How could those people have done it?”

Nisha nodded emphatically. She said, “You know Mom, ever since the Nirbhaya case, a friend of mine, Supriya, has completely stopped going out at night, even with company. She is petrified that the same thing will happen to her.”

Dad and Mom looked startled. “Really?” asked Mom. “I had no idea young girls were taking it so seriously or personally.”

Dad looked at both his girls, “What about you two?” he asked. “How are you bearing up?”

“Well, Dad,” said Nisha, “I can’t deny it that it has made a difference. I am not as spooked as Supriya, but alarm bells keep going off in my head, especially when I am in a lonely stretch of the road. And the newspapers don’t help. There is a report of rape almost every day. It is almost as if everyone is getting raped.”

Alka nodded solemnly, “My friends and I discuss this quite a lot. Of course you guys don’t let me go out alone at night, but I do have an awful sense of being hunted like prey.”

“Why didn’t you two ever raise this issue with us?” asked Mom. “You know we would have helped you.”

“We have now, Mom,” said Nisha mildly.

Mom nodded, still looking rather distraught.

“The first thing you have to do when you get these scary thoughts or feelings is to neutralise them,” said Mom. “Just say cancel-cancel, and replace them with a positive statement like, “I am safe and secure in the loving arms of God.”

“Secondly, every day before leaving home just visualise God’s white light coming into you through the sahasrara chakra and filling every cell of your body with health, strength, confidence and radiance. Then visualise the white light swathing you from head to toe with its loving, protective radiance. Experience the sense of being cocooned in God’s protection. And every time you feel scared, just say the
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