It was of those bright sunny mornings when yours truly was settling down to make a good day when the news broke that the young teen, Sharath, was declared to be murdered in cold blood by a person he adored and cherished a deep friendship with. There were many lessons that his untimely demise held.
Ten days earlier when the news reports carried out the picture of the youngster astride his new motorbike flanked by his mother stating that he was abducted and a ransom was placed on him. Within a couple of days the news died down and most had dismissed it as a prank by the teen himself or his friends. The first lesson that, therefore, emerged was never take any such event lightly.
The media which loves to speculate and adjudicate as well as interrogate the investigators also switched on to more "spicy" news items to gorge on. As people moved towards Dussehra, it became evident that except those close to the family the rest had on with life. Thus, this event showed us that the second important lesson was that one should not lose the empathy towards the family in distress.
The revelation of the gruesome murder made one wonder whether the third lesson was on the validity of the second lesson itself as the accused was none other than the victim's childhood friend, Vishal. So should such families trust anyone with their moves became a question by itself. Similarly, the question arose as to whether such complaints could be registered by police in plainclothes at a different place rather than a police station. Imagine the accused being part of the discussions on the tracing of the victim.
The next lesson is for the media. It should refrain from reporting on issues wherein lives of people are at stake. This blunder during the Mumbai attacks had cost many lives. Still the media acts at its whim and fancies. It even questions the investigators' competence as well as fairness. The fourth estate is to keep vigil. It has to report what is an established fact. Any investigator's false moves could also be a strategy. Left alone the police could have tracked the victim and the abductors. However, the reporting of the fact that the police were on to it and the cell phones were being tracked would only hasten the dastardly act. Arnab and his local versions need to seriously debate their sensitivity indices and India wants to know their findings with live feedback.
The hard lesson is whom to trust as a friend. A person who is known for over a decade to the entire family, a person who sports a devoted look, a person declared to be innocent by his own, a person who dines at your home and you at his, the families are known to each other, the camaderie is unfettered over years- Must be that Krishna and Sudama days are over. It reminds one of a story that used to be a bedtime tale to nurture friendships. In the tale, two friends are caught and one is to be executed. The friend strikes a deal that he would return in a day's time lest the friend will be executed. The friend keeps his date and both are left free.
Well friendship is one relationship which we choose and are not born into. This beautiful relationship has been sullied by this young lad who cannot be trusted with another reprieve. The virtues as to why capital punishment is on our books is comprehended only in these circumstances.
But should the young one pay with his life for us to learn these lessons? Wish we were more mature to comprehend that there could be another point. Youngsters, a last word for you is never flash luxury goods. We remember fondly the schools we were taught in. They taught us to shed our footwear to be on par with the ones who could not afford it, they taught us to share the bare minimum so that the other does not feel that he is underprivileged, it taught us the dignity of labour by asking us to sweep our classrooms, it taught us that livelihood mattered more than academic degrees or the marks on the marksheet, it taught us that humanity was higher than any of the primal goals. So, is this not a lesson for the teachers and parents of today too!
Sharath, in your demise you have enlightened us but could we live upto this lofty standard or will the world instead pray to Vishal as the messiah of the world. Only time can answer but in this case it can never heal the wounds of the family or the taint suffered by the much adulated relationship of friendship.