Open any newspaper on any given day and you will read story after story about sexual assault.
Its not that we suddenly have more brutality against women in India. We live in a society where the average women is constantly and continually leered at. Often groped. Treated like dirt. And has had to go through this with the whole issue being called 'eve teasing.'
But something has happened.
The unbelievably brutal assault on a young woman in Delhi, which ended in her death late last year has opened the eyes of the nation. Its been a long time coming.
Now the papers are falling over themselves to announce that this watchman has been accused of molesting that girl, and that a further rape took place in so-and-so town. You almost wonder whether all that happens in our country is molestation - there are so many reports.
It makes you sick to think that this is what has been going on for years - but that the public guardians have not thought it 'fit to print.'
There is also probably a slightly higher willingness of the police to take 'complaints' more seriously now.
How much longer the current climate of awareness will last is anyone's guess. Two years ago Anna Hazare took the nation by storm with his anti-corruption campaign. For most of us its business as usual again after he faded from the scene.
The pictures above are painted as a mural on the wall of our housing society. A local group organised school children in a competition and the winners had their pictures painted on our wall on Republic Day last month.
Everyday as I walk Asha to and fro from school, again when I walk with Enoch, and in-between on my own walk to work I pass these images. They are powerful statements of truth.
The press is demanding that new laws be passed - and that rapists be hanged. But then who is making these laws. Its easy to be cynical about our parliament. Many of the men who are elected have criminal records themselves - 6 have been accused of rape themselves. But at least we have a nation who desperately wants something to be done about the horrors that women go through.
Rather than sink into the slough of cynicism, there are those who are painting for change. May our thoughts and prayers and actions also follow.
We know that there are no short-cuts out there - we have had laws in hand for years, but very little enforcement. We have a society that claims to be conservative and chaste and yet every single Bollywood film has a mandatory sleaze sequence when an aspiring (or nowadays established) female star flaunts her stuff, and where as you ride a train into a city you see the large letters painted on walls advertising Doctors who treat Venereal Diseases.
The road to change starts in our heart. In our hearts. In a true and lasting reform of our character. In a reorienting of our inner man with the heart of a man who came into this world 2 millenia ago. He was able to reach out to women in prostitution without exploiting them. He had mercy on a woman with a 12 year long menstrual problem. He looked after his mother while hanging naked and bleeding on the cross. And though he died a criminal's death, I know that he rose anew and lives that all may be restored and changed....
What amazing art will be created on the day when all things are put right!
In the meantime... lets start with creating pictures and images that express truth for change! Let a thousand flowers bloom. Let a million images tell truth and beauty - and ugliness when needed.