If there is a lesson to be learnt while dealing with real, raw human problems it is that of shedding the comfort of knowing the job.

We live in a world of codes and formulae that impose themselves on problems in the garb of solutions. Human nature, circumstances and environments inflict shadows on young lives that are unpredictable and often counter intuitive. Such is Aruna’s story(name changed).
Aruna and her 4 younger siblings grew up in Kan Doctor Thotham, a former sex worker slum colony near Ratna Theatre, Pondicherry. She and all her siblings are direct beneficiaries of Sharana; two of them have undergone complicated open heart surgeries from funds raised by Sharana, her mother a heart patient herself is yet to take a call on surgery. Her father was the local gangster. His nefarious life ended in murder. Aruna was 12, yet up until then she was a bright, studious disciplined student.
Six months later her mother introduced the family to “Anna” or older brother. Anna wasn’t exactly that. As is wont in many a crowded one room household and blunted sensibilities, Anna and her mother exposed the children, perhaps inadvertently, to their sexual escapades. The children were teased about it. Social workers noticed spiralling indiscipline in Aruna.. She became loud, her reactions exaggerated, her demeanour garish. She rapidly lost her grades in school and dropped out. She was guided to a community college that lasted a week. By the age of 14 she hung out with male friends late into the night. Her mother was gradually losing moral authority over her. One year back when she married Anna, vestiges of that moral authority evaporated. At 16 Aruna became promiscuous. Social workers struggled for 4 years to counsel her.
On 4th of January after a four month rapid descent into wanton behaviour our social worker was forced to call Childline to intervene. Aruna at 16 had moved in with a male companion of 19 after she had gone missing for a day. Today, away from her mother and the slum, in the safe keeping of Childline, we hope she gets a grip on life.
Did she feel let down and betrayed by her mother? Was she already vulnerable given her early childhood? Is promiscuity less of a taboo when prostitution, still continues in a small slum? How does one explain her love and respect for her father? Scope for a lot of conjecture but little headway for a conclusion.