The Nirbhaya effect
By Suma Varughese
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 word ‘Protected’ to yourself and you will feel that sense of being loved and looked after.”
Dad added, “You must also do a practice like Emotional freedom Technique (EFT) or TAT to heal yourself of your fear. I shall teach you EFT after dinner.”
After dinner, the family gathered in their cosy den, and Dad taught them how to say the default statement three times while tapping gently on the karate chop, and them repeating whatever they were troubled by while tapping on a few points on the face, collarbone, armpit and top of the head (see www.eftuniverse for more details).
As the girls began to tap, Nisha let out an audible sense of relief. “Wow, I am feeling so much better. This is amazing.”
“Indeed it is,” says Dad. “EFT is one of the quickest and most effective cures for emotional and physical issues. People have healed from all sorts of trauma and phobias, and physical ailments too.”
“I am going to teach this to Supriya too,” said Nisha, excitedly. “I think it will help her.”
“Another thing,” added Dad. “Remember that newspapers write about the exception, not the rule. But when we read them, we falsely believe that they are the rule. Most girls go about their lives quite safely without being violated. Most people escape being murdered, or robbed. So remember not everyone is getting raped.”
The girls nodded, relieved.
Ajoba added his bit, “You know, children, each of us has a destiny and only that which we are supposed to experience will come our way. Not all of us will get dengue fever or malaria, or have an accident or get raped. So let go of all worry and live happily. There is absolutely no sense in worrying or being anxious. Only that which is meant to come to you will. Otherwise it won’t. ”
Nisha nodded, “This makes a lot of sense, Ajoba,” she said. “I think I will keep that in mind.”
Ajoba smiled, happily. “You young ones were not born, but you must have heard of the dreadful serial bomb blast in 1993. Hundreds of people died as bombs exploded in about 11 places almost simultaneously. The next day, I was afraid to go to work. But I thought about this, and I set out to work with a brave heart. It has held me in great stead right through my life. It has taught me to surrender fear and worry to the Higher Power, and to settle into the moment.”
Mom added, “Apart from the psychological tools, you will also need some physical ones such as learning martial arts. I am going to enroll you two girls into a karate class right away. That will also make you feel confident.”
“One last thing,” said Dad, “Never allow fear to take control over you. The moment you feel the fear rising, work on it through EFT. If you still can’t handle it, share it with me or Mom. Fear is a virus that needs to be deactivated the moment it enters our system, else it will take over our lives.”
“Done, Dad,” said Nisha gaily. “I shall just slash it with my sword of courage and decimate it.”
“Great,” said Dad, “That’s my girl.”