The Runaway kids
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8th Feb 2012, 02:39 AM #1
The Runaway kids
The Runaway kids
The idea of children running away from home must be as old as society itself. Children, especially those who feel caged in the homes of their parents, often seek to take flight.
Contrary to popular opinion, girls are as likely as boys to flee from home. The atypical reason for running away amongst most children is parental neglect (real or imagined) as well as dysfunctional families. Though sometimes, there are often more sinister things afoot.
Arpit Sharma*, at the age of fourteen, fled from home due to parental pressure on the academic front. Months shy of his 10th grade board examinations, he went out to play cricket one day, and didn't return. After a few hours of waiting, his parents checked his school bag and found a note that said - "I'm going, don't try to find me." A relative recalls, "he was very young back then, only fourteen. He waited at the bus stop for a couple of hours, and then called his residence. His mother told him how worried they were, and that his father was actually falling sick with fear, when he heard that, he told his parents where he was, and then asked them to pick him up."
Marketing professional, Thomas David* was all of 17 when he eloped with his girlfriend, now wife. His Malayalam Christian family did not approve of his Hindu wife. "In some parts of our community, it's considered a very big deal when you're seen with someone from another culture. I met my girlfriend when I was fourteen, we eloped at 17 and got married at 24." Thomas goes on to reveal that he doesn't have anything to do with his family now. "If I go back to them, they'll forgive me, but they will never accept my wife."
Thomas admits that he got luckier than most. "I was finishing school at the time I eloped, and I had already got a scholarship from a college in Hyderabad. A lot of minors who elope often have to go back to their homes as they have no means of supporting themselves," he said.
Every other day, there are reports of a child who got nabbed extorting money from his own parents after having had himself kidnapped. A very famous case happened in 2009 when 22-year-old Pawan Verma had himself kidnapped for a ransom of 20 lakhs. Reports suggest that Pawan lived a lavish lifestyle and landed up in debt, owing `10 lakh to various persons. He wanted to clear his debt and land himself a trip to Macau with his girlfriend. He was finally nabbed by the authorities when he came to collect his own ransom money.
Delhi Police, PRO, Rajan Bhagat says that the Delhi Police receives approximately five to seven cases a day of children running away from home. "Mostly, they are juveniles who run away from home. When we track them down, they either regret doing what they did, or say that they were unhappy with the situation at their home and had no choice but to run away," Bhagat explains.
While exploring the reason as to why children feel the need to run away from home, Bhagat says, "They mainly do it because of unfriendly conditions or circumstances at home. Family pressures related to performing well in academics or having a specific kind of friend circle often leads to such actions. Some do it because they think they will do better in life if they don't have any interference in their life. But I'll not blame the kids for thinking this way. Parents today have little time for their kids. They hardly have any information on what their child is doing or what is going on in his or her mind, but when the child runs away like this, they come to us and cry."
Does the Delhi Police also get cases wherein children get themselves kidnapped to extract money from their parents? "Those cases are rare and few. Not many such cases are reported. Though some do get themselves kidnapped deliberately," Bhagat says.