I recognized Anjali as one of the most gorgeous looking girl in my college. She had a fair & glowing skin, long hair, amazing eyes and a good dressing sense. She wasn’t my friend but at the same time we didn’t dislike each other. She was always surrounded by people and from what I could make she liked the attention. There were guys who kept commenting on her looks and kept dreaming of dating her. The girls on the other hand were nice to her but disliked her at the same time for obvious reasons. She was the topic I thought people never got tired of discussing.
We started our MBA in the year 2004 and it had been the most awaited time of my life. I came to Mumbai for the first time and was looking forward to my stay here.
Sameer became my friend as soon as I met him. He was an amazing company to me. I could connect to him easily because we always had some healthy discussions and our different opinions made the topics more interesting. Surprisingly, Sameer never showed any interest in talking about Anjali unlike other guys.
4th July 2004: I distinctly remember, we had our Finance Lecture. Coming from a Science background, I never understood anything in this class. Sameer was my only support in terms of debit and credit calculations and he was planning to come late. The lecture started and my eyes were glued to my professor hoping to learn something. Anjali walked in late and she had no option but to sit beside me. The lecture continued. Her cell kept vibrating every 2 minutes and she kept fiddling with her cell phone under her desk. I left hope and started scribbling in my book because I knew I will never be able to absorb anything today.
She suddenly turned towards me and asked if she could use my cell phone as her cell was out of battery. She wanted to send just one international message. I was a little shocked with this request of hers; we barely knew each other. She almost pleaded. Courteous I was, I handed my phone to her.
Who the hell, is she going to message from my number? I thought.
Once the lecture was done, she said a thank you and ran off the class. And behind her some 20 odd people, basically to spend some time with her. She had so many fans, she could have asked for anyone’s phone. Why me? I was completely angry. The first thing I did was to check my message box and call logs. There was nothing.
I called Sameer immediately. I went to him and blurted the entire incident in one breath. He looked much tensed and was about to say something. But in the meantime, my cell rang. “Unknown number calling”. When I answered, the man on the other side started screaming and swearing on me. I was shocked. I had never heard someone talking so dirty to me. Looking at my tearful eyes, Sameer snatched the phone from me. It seemed he had anticipated this. He went a little away from me and spoke something on the call. I was in a state of shock.
He came to me and asked me to follow him. He went to Anjali and screamed “Why do you do this. When you know what is going to happen, why do you? Why did you have to use her (pointing me) phone when you know what the consequences would be. Suddenly Anjali's face turned pale. She looked at me and apologized that I had to go through what just happened. I, by now, had gained my senses and asked Sameer what was going on.
“I need your help”, said Anjali to us.
Sameer was still angry but concerned too. The 3 of us headed to a coffee shop.
“He is my father” and there was silence. Sameer had assumed she had a very possessive boyfriend who was behind this entire drama. But FATHER! We had 100 questions running in our minds.
She continued, “I was a victim of child abuse when I was 14 in the year 1997. It was my father who tried to rape me in his unconscious mind under the affect of alcohol. My mother and my elder brother Aneesh came at the right time and I was saved. My father was sentenced imprisonment for 7 years. My family did their best to erase those memories from my mind. The memories were replaced with some good ones but they never got erased. We lost mom in 2001. She suffered her first heart attack and it snatched her away from us. Aneesh had to leave for a 1 year project to Canada in 2003. He will be returning next week. I keep talking to Aneesh all the time over the phone. My father has been tracking this, I don’t know how. The same thing happened when I used your phone the other day Sameer. I am really sorry for what happened. I just need to be safe for a week until Aneesh arrives. He is trying his best to wrap up things soon and return. PLEASE HELP" and she burst out crying. She was too scared and so was I.
Sameer decided we would stay in his apartment until Aneesh arrives. He made all the arrangements. Sameer was basically from Kerala but his dad had an apartment here in a reputed and a very secured colony and that was the best option for now.
12th August 2004: We were at the airport to drop Anjali and Aneesh. They were leaving Mumbai forever. Aneesh filed a complaint against his father for torturing them. He was put in a rehab centre because the court and the doctors decided he needed help more than punishment. Anjali was beautiful as ever. Her smile had returned after her elder brother arrived. She now felt completely protected and confident. She completely believed in him.
There were 2 men here Aneesh and Sameer, whom I could not stop admiring and there was one man there in the rehab who had lost his mind because of his own demon like deeds.
P.S. : There have been many incidents reported on child abuse. Abuse could be physical, sexual, emotional / psychological and neglect.
According to CRY (Child Rights and You):
* 8,945 children go missing in India every year
* Approximately 2 million child commercial sex workers are between the ages of 5 and 15 years
* Approximately 3.3 million child commercial sex workers are between 15 and 18 years
* Children form 40% of the total population of commercial sex workers
* 80% of these children are found in the five metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore