by Arpita Maitra
Editor’s Note: There have been countless news reports of candlelight vigils and protest marches all over the country in solidarity with the young woman gang raped in a moving bus in Delhi. Many of those protests have been organised by young people often through social media. Some call for capital punishment. Many are silent protests. Some exhort others to teach their boys how to behave, instead of telling their girls how to dress. Some light candles. Many put out chart paper so that passers by can write their thoughts and notes. Here’s a postcard from one protest in Gurgaon and a young man who struck an unexpected chord.
A bunch of young college and school kids arranged a peaceful protest march in Gurgaon around noon yesterday, in connection with the Delhi gangrape case. I noticed this young kid at the march because his smile was so sunny. As the marchers went along from Huda City Centre to Galleria shouting slogans, this little chappie was going up to by-standers, passersby, security guards at shops and buildings, handing them small folded chits of paper from a bag that he was carrying, smiling his beautiful sunny smile all along.
I don’t know if the notes that he distributed will change the world and I don’t care. All I know is that seeing this sweet smiling little kid distributing small handwritten notes, made me want to hug him and cry. It was such a redeeming gesture connected to such a sordid tale of the city.
At the end of the march I asked him if I could have one of his notes as a keepsake. He told me — still smiling — that they were all finished, the entire bagful of them.
The ending point of the march was the Galleria, where many lit candles and some gave speeches. After the group dispersed I saw this kid pick up the trash, all the leftover candles, the scraps of posters and chart paper lying hither thither. It was then that I asked him if I could take his photo on my phone, to serve as a reminder of how much good still lay before us.
I also asked him his name and age.
Dev, 12 years old.