Friday, November 25, 2011

His remarkable eyes.

Photo by Kalpesh Bhatt

I had the fortune of meeting this boy at my office Children's Day party. He was completely adorable. I fell subtly in love. He was so shy. He barely looked me in the eye. :) But he had truly remarkable, expressive eyes.
He was 5 years old when the riots of 2002 happened in Gujarat. He saw his father get shot in the chest. Somehow, it made him angry he said. He was counselled to let all that anger go. He told me he wants to be an engineer. And never wants his parents to work. :) It was eye opening. Somehow I just wanted to take him, put him in my pocket and shield him from the cruel ways of the world. If only.
None of that is possible I guess. The incident and life after made him grow up faster. I hope it doesn't push him to the dark side.
His name was Saiyed Khaleel. He will probably forget me. But, I can't forget that strange look in his eyes. I don't think it was fear or anger. Maybe it was revenge. And that's what I fear.

The counsellor and I had a detailed conversation about her work with Khaleel in particular. She said and I quote, "He never wanted to play with any other toys but guns." It made me wonder if I am reading too much into his behaviour. Was he just being a child? Did seeing his father get shot by strangers, make him want revenge?
When after talking to me for a few minutes, he said, "I don't want to think about it. Can we not talk about it?" I promptly changed the subject and we discussed the cake he was eating. But to me, the conversation was one I can never forget. 

I might be overreacting (as I am often told), but I genuinely wish for him and for everyone else who was affected by such trauma, the ability to have some peace of mind. Someday. They, too, have a life to live and I hope it won't be clouded by these incidents.

NOTE: The Naroda Patiya case: 95 persons were killed on February, 28, 2002 during the communal violence that erupted after the Godhra train burning incident in Gujarat.


Psych Babbler™ said...

Thanks for sharing this Nids...hopefully some day this boy can achieve his dreams of wanting to become an engineer and be at peace with the trauma he experienced.

PeeVee™ said...

Trauma affects people in different ways that we can't even begin to understand.
And it's beyond heart-breakingly sad that children have to go through such pain at such a young age, all because the adults of this world are *this* close to losing it completely-_-

Hopefully his Allah and circumstances will decide to take him down the path of life rather than destruction.

Spaceman Spiff said...

And I don't blame him for the anger.. If I had seen my own father getting shot for no fault of his, I too would probably have felt the same.

You know, we all blame terrorists for destroying humanity. But maybe, what fills those hearts is not evil, maybe it's just anger. Anger at injustice. Anger at discrimination. Have you never felt that way, where you've been so angry at somebody that you just wanted to kill them? I know I have.

I hope the boy chooses the right path in life.. May God help him choose the right path...

Parth Jhala said...

Thanks for sharing his story..which is one amongst so many such! I think violence, of any kind, more than just its immediate outcomes, leads to a longer cycle of viciousness. Which is why it becomes important for justice to be served in such cases. I hope he finds his peace without losing anything more of himself.
You wrote this with a touch of empathy that really reaches out! :)

Red Handed said...

He is afterall a kid, and noone can view his or her family get shot before him. God how horrendous even the imagination is!
If only things were better ..

Between life's doings said...

I agree with everything everyone has said thus far. Especially spaceman spiff, I cant imagine what else one would feel than extreme anger and fear when you see someone you love being killed in front of your eyes.

The little boy's trauma is the trauma that we all should carry, that we all should be responsible for, only then can we rid him and us all of so much hate going around. Thanks for sharing this babe. I am glad he has a counselor, resilience studies show that you just need one person in your life to inspire you to be different, more positive and more ...well, resilient.

Kunal said...

I have read some articles about behavioral patterns which now a days..children playing with guns more and linked with violent activities in the adults life...I just hope that this is not the case here...Fate/God/Humans has been cruel to him..and I hope his heart gets healed...and his wish of becoming an engineer is fulfilled...

He really has very expressive eyes.. :)

TheBluntBlogger said...


This is why am all down these days,seeing what's happening in the world. No wonder people get depressed and anger is in the air....

And you do look like Vidya Balan.

Sujatha Sathya said...

i came here seeing Chintan's tweet about this post

you know, my daughter is 5 years & recently we were watching a movie. there was a scene in it where the father gets trampled to death by a herd of rushing bulls & the little son(hero)sees it & suddenly we heard loud cries & saw that it was our daughter. this shocked us because she has never cried or felt scared for any movie (not even Ragini MMS ka bhooth wala scene!!!) and here she was sobbing deeply. when i asked her,she hugged me & said, "his pappa...pappa"...maybe she had personalized that death scene maybe thinking of her own father in the place

so i cant even think of what Khaleel has gone through & still going through. its the worst nightmare & my heart goes out to him & others like him

no you were not over-reacting that much i can say because we cant ever begin to understand/feel their pain. it is immense.

he is in my prayers tonight.
peace & love

Sinduja Ragunathan said...

Very touching Srinidhi! Made me smile the love that peeps through people's hearts and shows itself, comforting me that the world will be a safe place to be in because there will always be the insightful, compassionate and kind ones. The post, though short, truly reflected your warmth.

R-A-J said...

Sad tht somethin so harsh happened in front of his eyes.. I do hope there is someone to look after him...

I always believe tht anger in ur heart, if channeled appropriately, can carve the right path out of life fr u.. wish there is someone to guide him.. n yes, if a 5 year old who been thru what he's gone thru chooses guns over other toys, I think someone should b thr 2 guide him..

Srinidhi said...

@psych babbler: Thank you. I do hope. His words really stayed with me. I wish he will find the peace.

@PeeVee: I completely agree. I do hope he find the right guidance.

@spaceman spiff: Beautifully put spiff. I agree. I question that more now. I hope so too.

@Parth: :* Thanks. And you are right. He is a representation of many such people who witnessed violence of any kind. :)

@Red: Exactly. I am sure those count for some scarring. It is horrible isn't it?

@Aarathi: I agree. Anger seems but obvious. At such a tender age, you cannot expect anything else. But his counsellor was retelling stories of many such children. He is fortunate and his father lived. But the others must carry around a heavier weight right? I wish and hope and pray that he finds it in him to be at peace.

@kunal: I wish the same for him. And he does doesn't he. It brought me immense joy to bring a smile to his face. :)

@Bluntblogger: Indeed. Too much of violence. Sigh.

@sujatha: Thank you so much for reading. Your experience tells so much. I can only imagine seeing it happen in real life.
I hope he finds his way as well. :)

@Sindu: Thank you. Yes. I agree. The comments on this post sent a wave of reassurance. But I do hope, many many more people realise.

@Raj: I agree. He needs to be allowed to express the good in his heart. :)

Jack said...


First visit. Read all current posts. Good book review and introduction of lady writer. Nice poems, though little sad. Media does go on senseless overdrive missing the main issues a number of times. Slutwalk is something basically to raise awareness of public on harassment to women. We surely need people to realise that it is a big nuisance and must be eradicated. No matter how much we try the horrific memories of that boy will still remain and may affect his thinking or behaviour.

Take care

Rahul Bhatia said...

The trauma of childhood will be difficult to overcome!Hope he sees more goodness in life!

Towards Harmony said...

So nicely written S!

I feel a rage inside me and in the recent workshop I was in we were talking about how anger if channeled with care can be a big force in social change.

I do hope the counselor helps him do that and like A! says build Resilience.

Srinidhi said...

@jack: Thank you for your long and detailed comment. :) Welcome here. :) Do visit again.

@Rahulbhatia: I hope he can find his way. :)

@Towardsharmony: I agree and constantly hope for the same. :) Thanks :)

Hema said...

I cannot imagine such a trauma.. With no therapy, only time can be the best healer for that kid.. my heart goes out for that kid.. Hope he achieves good in the future..

Reema Sahay said...

I remember those days, reading about horrific incidents in Gujarat. Educated people vouching for violence and religion. How can a human being kill another human being on such petty issues?