Of late I have got a feeling that people crave sensationalism, mystery and conspiracies in every piece of news they come across – so much so that they seem to enjoy a horrible pleasure in weaving out stories or making blind accusations based on nothing. Some call it skepticism, some call it caution. But the way it comes out makes it just too obvious – that it is indeed a voyeuristic pleasure under the garb of ‘concern’ from those who are only too eager to don the “Amateur Sherlock Holmes” hat.

The tragedy of 6-year-old Devananda from Kerala who went missing, sparking off a mammoth search operation both in the real and virtual worlds, before shattering the hopes of so many who prayed for her safety, is the latest platform for this syndrome. While there were many who helped in some way or the other to find her or made genuine suggestions, there were so many who thought it was okay for them to openly say in public forums that they suspected the girl’s mother played a role in the whole thing. And their reasoning for this unforgivable accusation?

1) She didn’t match their standards of grief in the plea-for-help video that showcased her.

2) There have been some cases in Kerala in the recent past where mothers were found to be culprits or aides in their own kids’ murder.

I couldn’t believe the sense of entitlement that these “detectives” felt in spewing out such venom about a woman who had just lost her little daughter and wasn’t even said to be a suspect by the police. Sure, the case is not closed and there might have been foul play involved in the little one’s disappearance or it could very well prove to be a sad accident. Fine, you have your doubts even though you have no idea of what happened or who these people are. Fine, your overactive imagination has given you an entire movie to play in your head that you so want to believe as the truth. Does that give you the right to open that bullshit up for the world to see? Did you even think of the major possibility that unlike the ‘some cruel mothers’ you are basing your conspiracy theory on, this mother is actually innocent and heartbroken, thinking every single minute of all the ways she could have prevented this accident and protected her child? Did you think of the kind of blame she would place on herself, that would stop her from ever being happy? No, because you were only thinking of the juicy bits that you would get to feed on every morning if only she turned out to be a woman who did away with her child, preferably for a secret lover, isn’t that so?

A case arousing doubts in the minds of people is only normal, especially with the kind of unbelievable crimes we hear of every other day. In fact, the recent unravelling of the (cyanide) serial killings in Kerala was a clear example of how at least some of the murders could have been prevented if only the police didn’t go by the ‘believable emotions’ of the murderer at the time of her husband’s alleged suicide and probed a little more back then. But that does not give us the right to let accusations as grave, irresponsible and cruel as this float out there in the open. Definitely not because she didn’t cry enough for our liking! What the hell is this obsession of our people anyway with accepting wailing as the only proof of genuine grief? Who the hell made these people judges of someone else’s emotions? Who says there is only one way for people to behave in a certain situation – is there a guide for it? And in cases as sensitive as this, we should be thinking about the unbearable sorrow those parents are going through. Think of the kind of pain this mother would feel if she comes to know of such baseless and brutal accusations, on top of coping with her child’s loss. Think of the unnecessary and poisonous seeds of doubt that such words can sow in the minds of others, even those close to her and how it can end her life.

There definitely have been times when doubts raised by people around have helped police to dig up buried crimes, arrest culprits who would otherwise have escaped and prevent more deaths. But there is a way to do that, if at all there is genuine reason for doubt. Someone sitting in some faraway corner of the world, imagining things only based on crime stories, without even having known those involved, and putting up public posts or comment threads on social media or having teatime gossip? – that certainly is not the way!

By the way, this post is not only for those who make such accusations. It is also for those who in the pretext of giving cautionary advice to others are openly judging and blaming this mother for her child’s death. “Why couldn’t she wash her clothes later?”, “I take my child with me even to the toilet because I want her safe.” – all these are nothing but rubbing salt on someone’s open wound. Remember, no matter how amazing a mother you think you are, no matter how careless a mother you insinuate she was – accidents happen; it can happen to anyone. Making this a case study on public forums to impart your words of wisdom on parenting is the worst slap you can give a woman who needs empathy and compassion more than anything else right now. So at least for now, step out of your “best mother” shoes and keep your thoughts to yourself, for the sake of another mother. And trust me, your two cents in this really won’t make a difference other than in breaking an already broken woman furthermore.