Swathi Santhanagopalakrishnan – just because someone couldn’t handle rejection

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Swathi / Nungambakkam / Infosys / Techie / Gruesome Murder – these are words that have been flying across our keyboards, in the media and also in our minds. Just the audacity that went into a stupid plan (hacking in broad daylight in a public place),  and the fact that it did materialise – upsets me no end.

People are rising up, holding candles, giving media bytes, clicking tongues, sharing facebook posts , feeling appalled and all that. We are thinking about Swathi, her family, her day and her life that was just cut short in one unpleasant surprise. The invisible Swathi who was unknown till last Thursday – is now on national media. We are commenting on efforts of the police, or lack of it, how there was no dignity to her body after being slain.

While all this disturbs me a lot,  we are still missing the main point here. The fact that Swathi was murdered was because the murderer could not take rejection. He could not understand a simple “No”. He did not want to accept it. And so, he feels justified in his mind to develop a plan to ease the pain in his mind. How? By eliminating the person who uttered those words.

There are reports about an altercation between Swathi and the unidentified person. Have we reached a stage, where altercations and arguments must end in only one party being alive? Who decides that? What gave the man-in- the -checked shirt the right to end Swathi’s life? And it was not an unintentional happening. It was pre-planned.

Let us observe, how people across society view this. As women, we feel more pressurized to be on our guard. You will have to have an extra few thoughts – before you voice your opinion in a meeting, comment on someone’s clothes, or just go for an early morning jog. You might get murdered, woman! Be careful.

The reaction amongst men – is slightly varied. There are those who have daughters – this is a group that feels extreme fear. Things could go wrong, how much ever effort you could take. Mr. Santhanagopalakrishnan made the effort to drop Swathi outside the station everyday. How much more care could he have taken of his daughter? Travel with her to office as well? There are many thoughts that would have taken a similar turn among fathers blessed with daughters.

And there is another group – despite being politically correct in groups, this group thinks a bit more. They do not think more about Swathi and the murder. But their attitudes mirror their views and generalisations about women. As a friend of mine noticed the scene at her office – there was a subtle ” After having moved for so many years, when women break it off – that is just not fair! ”

What irks me – is that I witnessed a similar mindset during the Nirbhaya incident. And during the Meghalaya groping episode. Many male colleagues / acquaintances also voiced a “What was she doing at 10 pm with a guy? ” ” She must have dressed provocatively”

It irks me that the people saying this are in the 20 – 35 age group. The so called youth or young population.

It irks me that these were people with access to an education, a degree or in some cases maybe even two.

It irks me that these were people who would actually be in the target group during such incidents.

It irks me that they are able to empathise with some who has psychologically gone astray.

Why are they not able to understand a “No” ? Sometimes you are rejected – painful as it may be, It happens. Socially, Emotionally, Professionally – sometimes even intentionally.So would you resort to murder?

Murder your boss because he did not give you a good appraisal? Or stole your idea? Murder the guy who rejects your visa? Or Murder the person who cheated you in a business deal? Murder the maid who declines to work in your house, but works at the neighbours’? Your best friend of those days who just cannot find a common topic to discuss with you now? The employee who takes a bribe, but does no close the deal?

Would you murder them all?  The right to say “No” is a person’s choice.


The ability to accept it and move on – is a sign of maturity. Let us teach our children to handle rejection, to let go and move on, and to also learn to assert their ideas by saying a “No” firmly if the situation discerns it. That is the need of the hour. Much more than CCTvs, and police protection –  we need to change the apathy that is cancerous to our society and its people.





Parents and Children, Life and Death – I

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When I read the news about Ayazuddin’s (Son of Azharuddin) bike accident,my first reaction was – a youngster battling for life, what a terrible thing to undergo. That was my heart dominating my thoughts.Almost immediately – My head came to my rescue! What was a 19 year old doing with a 1000cc bike? Errant driving and then public sympathy. Everyone coos and cringes – offers sympathy and support.The media creates a public drama.  It irritates me. For the UNTOWARD has happened.I wonder – Why cant a 19 year old just be happy with a bike? Why do his parents have to show their love with a 1000cc Suzuki? How do they expect a youngster to be mature enough to handle it? Did they think he would say – ” I have a great bike and must ride it carefully”. Any teenager with a new bike would just be waiting to rip through the streets, wind in his hair and maybe touch 200kmph. That is ja, but normal.

That Parents play an important role in a child’s life, is a fact that goes without saying. Then who are parents competing with, when they shower their children with branded clothes, Ipads, Tablets, cars and sports bikes as birthday gifts ?News flash : They are competing with other woefully inadequate parents who do not want to let go of “their” life to monitor that of their children. These parents are parents just by the fact that they have actually given birth to 1,2,or more. The point is  – they have not yet ” become” parents.

What we need to realize are that “Children and Parents” are not persons – they are Attitudes.Unfortunately like other soft skills that people keep harping about, these were the first ones on the “Endangered species ” list and have almost got to the edge of the cliff.  You can stay a child forever(and by that I do not mean you have to behave like a retard), and you can be a parent as early as possible (And I am not talking about or endorsing illegitimate/legitimate teen-moms) .

When I see a mother walk into a restaurant with her “perfect” 11 year old daughter- both with straightened hair, Gucci bags, and an attitude to boot – I don’t envy the little girl her situation. For her mother is not her “Friend” as you might think, but just a wonderful salesperson who has kick-started her little girl’s primal urge in greed. For this girl along with her mother will be a permanent customer at a salon, a mall, or a club till she dies.

Sadly, the child in her has already died. There will be no pictures of her as a child. For she has already transformed into a precocious adult. There will be no pictures of her child like “scrawls and spelling mistakes”. For they have been replaced with “Swype” texts and “auto-correct options“. There will be no pictures to show that “she has grown taller”, as her clothes have become smaller. Our young girl wears only “short skirts”. There will be no proof of her uneven pig tails. For she has entered the world of “Re-bonded” hair. And there will be no record of her “immature talk”. This little girl “has aged beyond her years”.

When I see the world of children around me, it is no wonder that I hardly feel anything towards them, leave alone feeling good. For I no longer see, children. I see stunted adults. And they do not appeal to me at all. I would never want to be pleasant to a “man/woman – child” who judges me by the gadgets I carry, the make-up I’ve done and the vehicle I descend from.

Children are dead. And it is parents who kill them.

Sadly, 19-year old Ayazuddin has succumbed to his injuries. However great a father/ mother he might have, the fear and thoughts that went through his mind when he was dragged along the last 500 meters, would have definitely been that of a 19-year old. As much as my heart goes out to Azharuddin and family, I request Parents – let your children just stay children.

Note : Written on Sep 16.