Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Destiny Plays.

“Mom! Where are you? I want to talk to you.” Shriya, my daughter comes home from her college. I’ve been trying to maintain a friendly relationship with her and merge the gap of 18 years between us.
“I’m in here.” I answer from the kitchen.
“Mom, tomorrow’s Fathers’ Day. We’ve arranged a programme and everyone’s Dads are gonna come to the college. Why not mine? Let’s talk it straight, mom. Is my Dad no more? Why does he never visit us? Why does he not stay with us? I want my answers, Mom. What do I tell my teachers and friends tomorrow, about where my dad is and why he didn’t come for the event? Tell me, mom.” She says.
“Shriya, your Dad just cannot come.” I mumble.
“But why? Doesn’t he love me? Tell me please, mom. Tell me, where is he?” She asks, now seriously ridiculed.
“I don’t know.” I say, blankly, and come to my bedroom, ignoring her and sit down on my bed.
“How do you not know? You’ve got to tell me today. Tell me who my Dad is. Mom!” She yells.
“I said I don’t know. Why don’t you just get that straight? I don’t know who your Dad is. Alright? I don’t know.” I roar back at her, and begin to sob a little.
After about five minutes, she calmly comes to me and sits beside me. Seeing her come, I wipe out my tears.
“Sorry, baby. I didn’t mean to shout at you.” I say, squeezing her hand. I can comprehend that she’s cried, too. She might’ve sensed something wrong.
“Mom, as far as I remember my childhood, we’ve been living alone. I mean, just the two of us. Not even one relative ever visits us, and we never do, too.  Why, mom? Tell me. I’m there for you. Trust me, what had happened? Tell me the truth, Mumma.” She gently says, taking my hand into hers and holding it tightly.
“The truth might be too hard, too dark and too ugly for you, Shriya. I’ve been fighting my demons alone. I’m not used to such kindness or sympathy from anyone. You won’t understand.” I say, trying to brush her away.
“Mom, I’m 18, and I will understand. No matter how ugly the truth is. I’m here.” She says.
I smile. “I know you’re 18. You’re a big girl, now.” I say.
“Yes, say mom. Tell me.” She says.
And that’s when I began narrating the darkest time of my life to her. Something that changed the course of my life.

19 Years ago. .

“Rank 1. Krishita Verma – 89.31%” I read on the notice board of my college. I was ecstatic. My joy knew no bound. I’d stood first in my college for 12th Boards and I wanted to break the news to my mom. I ran through the campus, yelling “Eureka, Eureka!” and imitating Archimedes.
“Congratulations!” My friends, teachers and even the watchman uncle and warden aunty shouted back and laughed. I’d always been notorious and they were used to such insane things of mine.
I ran through the hostel corridors and girls looked at me, thinking of me being seriously lunatic. Some giggled, some gossiped and some were too careless. I didn’t mind. I went into my room and called up mom.
“Mummyy! I’ve got a surprise for you. I’m coming home in a week. I’ll tell you and Papa. You’ll be so happy, mummy. Bet!” I said.
“You stood first?” She asked, delighted.
“Ohho mummy, how do you always understand everything? You should let things be secret sometimes. You spoiled my surprise.” I said, faking some anguish.
“My girl,” she kissed the phone, “Don’t worry, we’ll keep it a surprise for your Papa. He’ll be proud of you.” She said.
“I know.” I whispered, “Chalo mummy, I’ve got to go now. I’ll buy sweets and offer it to my teachers and friends. Okay? See you soon. In a week. Bye. I love you.”
“I love you, too beta. Take care.” She said. I hung up the call.
The next week, I was on cloud nine. All my teachers were happy for my performance. I packed my bags, for I was going home after two years of hostel.
My Sir helped me with the reservations but couldn’t find any. So I’d to go directly, without a prior reservation. I’d to travel alone, all the way from Chandigarh to Bhopal. It was a seventeen-hour-long-journey, and the train was at 8.30 pm. I was all set to go, and was super excited to meet my mom and dad. I hadn’t seen them for two years. I’d missed them a lot. After struggling with the worldly people, (my friends, some too caring, some hypocrites and my teachers, I cannot just describe them) I was finally going to my own people, my comfort zone. I was never happier. My Dad was a politician. He used to be out most of the time. Dealing with the elections, he’d managed to win trust of the people and had been elected as the mayor. Mom was a housewife; she rarely participated in Dad’s affairs. And so, for me to learn everything by me, I was sent to a hostel at Chandigarh. I’d refused earlier, but mom had convinced me.
I was waiting on platform number 2, for my train to arrive. Trains never came on time, and thus, I’d seated on a bench nearby. A group of men were continuously staring at me and maybe, were passing some comments and laughing, and then again staring me. I was uncomfortable. I’d chosen to ignore them, for they were five to six people, and I was alone. I was afraid.
Finally, the train arrived. I went inside and looked for an empty seat. It was around 10, and people were having food and all, while some were about to sleep. I too ate my dinner, which the Warden Aunty had packed for me. After the dinner, I went to sleep.
At around 2 am, I woke up. I was thirsty. After drinking water, I went to the washroom. It was truly awful. While I was coming back to my place, I heard a voice calling me from behind.
“Excuse me, Madam?” The voice echoed in the grasping silence of the night.
I turned, but didn’t see anyone. I thought the voice didn’t talk to me. So I turned back to go to my seat.
Arey Madam, I’m talking to you. Where are you going?” The voice again called.
“Who’s it?” I said loudly.
There was no response from the other side. I went in the direction of the washroom. Little did I know, it wasn’t the direction of just the washroom, it was the direction to my destruction.
“Who’s there? Hello?” I kept questioning, in vain.
As soon as I reached the door of the washroom, I saw the same group of men there, who were at the station. Their evil eyes were looking at me, undressing me in their minds and smirking. I wanted to run away. I turned around but one of them caught the hold of my hand. His grip was tight. He did not let me go.
“You are so stunning! You cannot go this way. Pehlay hume khush toh karo!” One of them said, and began unzipping his trouser. I was hell scared. Not a word popped out of my mouth.
One of them pinched me, and when I was about to shout, he stuffed three handkerchiefs in my mouth. My hands were tied. Their filthy hands touched me all over, my face, my neck, my breasts, all my private parts. I was like a treasure for them, they were exploring my body. One of them stripped off my kurti and the other one undid my salwar. I felt exploited and hurt. I felt used. They bit me, lick me, their genitals were pushed inside me, and I could do nothing. I tried using my legs but in vain.
I don’t remember what happened then. I still see blurred images of the dark night, blood dispersed over the floor of the train, my painful moans, their wicked laughs. They’d not even once thought of me. I saw them getting down at the next station. I couldn’t shout. I didn’t have the energy. My limbs felt weak and my body hurt. I couldn’t do anything. So I lay there, waiting for someone to come and help me. I don’t remember when, but I fainted.
When I opened my eyes, (I don’t remember how many days later that was) I was on a hospital bed. My body was covered in a hospital gown and I’d had stitches all over my body. Some wounds were left open to heal; some of them were just bandaged. But the biggest wound had been given by those strangers on my heart. I had to come terms with the reality. I was raped.
After some time, my mom and dad came to the hospital. I felt home, suddenly. My parents had come, after all. I was seeing them after two years. I would’ve been happy in the normal circumstance, but owing to what had happened, I was numb.
Meri beti! What did this happen to you? My love. My princess.” She said, and began weeping, clinging to my Dad’s shoulder. Dad looked unmoved.
The doctor came in and said, “Brutal rape. Her hand bone is broken. There are stitches on her private parts. She was found naked in the train. Local train authorities brought her to the hospital. I’m afraid.”
Dad had no emotions in his eyes. He came near me, shed a tear or two and signalling to his assistant, whom I hadn’t yet noticed, he said, “Spread the news. I lost my daughter while she was coming home from Chandigarh. Accidental death.”
I was stunned. My dad had declared me dead. I knew, his reputation was more important for him over anything. But over his own daughter? I was dumbstruck. Mom was in utter shock, too. Dad held her hand and said, “Today onwards, she isn’t our daughter. I’ve disowned her. What would people say? What faith would they keep in me if I couldn’t protect even my daughter? Lets’ go.”
“B.. But Dad..” I said, he ignored. I knew it hurt him, too. I could see it in his eyes, sense it in his behaviour.
“NO! You cannot do this to her. She wasn’t at fault. Don’t do this with her please, take her home. I’ll take care of her, please don’t do this. She’s our daughter. Nooo!” Mom yelled, screamed, shouted and cried. Dad didn’t heed.
Mom came to me and said, “Don’t lose hope. I’ll convince him. I’ll come back.” Then, she left, following Dad.
Mom had lied. She never came back. She didn’t answer my phone calls. She didn’t convince Dad. I don’t know what Dad had said to her. Maybe she too had disowned me. Where was all the love gone? I was left all alone. I had nowhere to go. After getting discharge from the hospital, I didn’t know where to go. I had no money to pay the hospital bill. I didn’t know what I had to do. I was hoping and praying that it’d turn out to be just a nightmare. I was numb, so numb, that I couldn’t even cry.
Even after the discharge, I stayed in the hospital, sometimes on the benches where people used to wait for their appointment to come, sometimes in the parking lot, sometimes pleading to the doctor to let me stay somewhere in the hospital. One night and a group of men had snatched my entire life from my hands and I could do nothing except letting that happen.
One fine day, I was sleeping on the bench of the hospital, when a lady approached me. She wore a plain white saree and looked very old. She looked like all the motherly love was compiled in her. As soon as I looked up to her, tears started flowing out of my eyes, uncontrollably. This was the first time I’d cried after the rape.
“What happened, child?” She asked. I narrated everything to her. She had moist eyes too.
She took me with herself, to an aashram, where many girls of my age lived. She was Mrs. Nair and it was a NGO, which was run for women empowerment. I thanked my stars for making me come across this lady.  She asked me to stay there. I had no other option anyway. So, I agreed.
A month later, I’d vomited blood. I couldn’t bear the smell of some eatables and would get immensely desperate to eat some things. I didn’t understand what was happening.
Another month later, my stomach size began to increase, like a pulp. I went to Mrs. Nair and told her my symptoms. She suggested we see a doctor and so, the same afternoon, we went to the hospital for a check-up.
What the doctor had said made me collapse and crumble on the floor in disbelief.
“Two months pregnant.” He’d said.
I still hadn’t come out of the trauma of the rape, and here, my life had played another cruel game with me. Who would accept me in the society? First, I was raped. Then, I’m pregnant, with someone’s child and I didn’t know it was whose amongst them. I was shattered.
Mrs. Nair said, “Don’t worry; we won’t let this news out of this aashram. It’s your choice, to have the baby or no. But I’d suggest you abort the child, the foetus can prove harmful for your entire life. You are just about-eighteen. You have your entire life ahead. You’d be restricted because of this child.”
I didn’t say anything. I just followed what she said. The next day, again we were at the hospital, to abort the child. To kill it even before it opened its eyes.
The doctor checked me up and informed that there were complications and so the foetus could not be aborted. It could’ve proved fatal for my health. And so I was asked to conceive the baby.
Six and a half months later, I gave birth to a baby girl. She weighed just two kgs and looked really adorable. When she opened her eyes for the first time, I knew I’d found a reason to live.
I told Mrs. Nair that I wanted to study. She wholeheartedly agreed. She financed my entire professional course. I did my BBA and MBA from a reputed college. Never did she let me feel like I wasn’t her daughter. She took care of me. She looked after my daughter when I had to study. When I cleared my exams, she was the one who was happier than I was. Then, I got a job offer from Bangalore and shifted there with my daughter.


Shriya is hugging me by now and crying silently. I’m crying too. In these eighteen years, this is the first time I’ve opened up this way in front of someone. I feel like I’ve unfastened the belt that was around my neck for several years. I feel I’m breathing free.
“Didn’t your mom and dad ever contact you?” Shriya asks.
“They didn’t.” I say.
“And Mrs. Nair? What happened to her?” She asks further.
“She passed away five years ago.” I say.
“Oh.” She says.
I don’t say anything.
“Mom, it would’ve been difficult for you, no? Whenever you might’ve looked at me, you’d have remembered the tragedy happened to you. I’m so sorry.”
“Baby, what are you sorry for? It wasn’t your fault. Neither was it mine. I’ve accepted what’s happened to me, now. I’ve understood what destiny says to me. It’s my fate.” I say, sighing.
She stands up, wiping her eyes. She walks upto the door of my room, turns back and says, “You’re a hero. You’re my mother and father too. Tomorrow, come to my college. It’s Fathers’ Day.” She leaves.
I feel good. I feel happy. I feel accomplished.

Some wounds never heal. We just learn to live with them. We just get used to them and they matter less. But, they’re there, always. Aching afresh each time they’re brought into air. But sometimes, these wounds make us who we are. Sometimes, these wounds, they define us. For good. I smile.


  1. Poignantly expressed emotions beautifully etched between the words. your writing has a spark Apurva, and you would do something great one day...

    "Some wounds never heal. We just learn to live with them." stealed the show ... keep up the good work :)

  2. Thank you so much, Anmol. This, coming from you, means a lot! :)