A New Beginning

This post was not planned at all. I had written this story long time back for some magazine and was in double minds of sharing it here. But today's Satyamev Jayate's episode made me change my mind. Just shut the TV off and literally ran to my PC to post this story.

Here's my ode to all the survivors of child sexual abuse.

Disclaimer : This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect identities. Please forgive me as this post is a bit lengthy.

Jasmine – true to her name was very vivacious. She would spread fragrance of joy everywhere she went. All of 14 she was on the threshold of youth. Jasmine was like any other girl next door. Naughty, energetic, bubbly and full of life, she was a pleasure to be around with as her energy seemed to rub on to you. She was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Sharma. Just like any other couple these days they were a working couple. They tried to keep Jasmine occupied throughout the day in various hobby classes and extracurricular activities so that she would not mind their absence. 

Every Saturday Jasmine would spend half of the day after her school at their family friend Mr. Khanna’s place as all her classes were only 5 days a week and her parents did not find it appropriate to let her stay by her own self all alone at home. She enjoyed her time with Mrs. Khanna who was very nice and a simple good natured lady. Unfortunately Mrs. Khanna did not have children. She cherished every moment she got to spend with Jasmine. She would look forward to her visits every Saturday. She would make her favourite dishes and pamper her to the extent that she could. Jasmine would bask in all the love and attention showered on her as she barely got it from her own parents. Mr. and Mrs. Sharma though were very loving; their hectic work schedules barely left them with enough time and energy to spend quality time with Jasmine. They used to wash away any guilt by thinking they were doing all this just to ensure a good future for Jasmine. 

One Saturday as she entered Mrs. Khanna’s house, she almost bumped into a boy. The boy must have been around 23-24 years old and was staring at her with a look of bewilderment. They way he looked at her Jasmine felt uncomfortable. Though if asked she did not have any reason for it. But every time their eyes met she would squirm. She came to know that he was Mrs. Khanna’s nephew Saahil. On completion of his MBA he had been selected by a city based reputed company for a job.  Mrs. Khanna noticed the sudden change in Jasmine’s body language and tried to make her feel comfortable. After a lot of assurances from her side, she left it thinking it all will fine once they both meet a couple of times more. 

Little did she know that each one of us is a mere puppet in the hands of destiny? All that we imagine or think of need not happen at all. We spend hours in planning our futures but it takes a moment for God and destiny to change its course. However much we try at the end of the day we are mere puppets in His hands who has already decided what is going to happen next.

Destiny did not take long time in playing its game. On a rainy Saturday Jasmine was huddled in one corner of the room fiddling with her colour pens when she heard Mrs. Khanna’s scream. She rushed outside to see her lying on the floor. She had slipped on the wet floor and hurt her hip very badly. Saahil was also there.  On seeing Mrs. Khanna’s condition he immediately called his Uncle and she was rushed to hospital. Mrs. Khanna had suffered a major fracture and she needed to be operated upon immediately. She was required to be in hospital for 2-3 days and later on a bed rest of 4-5 weeks at home. While Mr. Khanna was at the hospital completing all the formalities, Saahil and Jasmine were at home. 

Jasmine got very scared on seeing all that had happened and was waiting anxiously for Mr. Khanna to return. She was pacing up and down in the bedroom in a state of worry looking at the window every second minute expecting them to return. The downpour seemed to get heavier and heavier with each passing minute. Jasmine was lost in her thoughts when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned back to find Saahil standing there. Jasmine got an eerie feeling. There was a weird look in his eyes which scared her. 

She looked at him with a stern face and opened her mouth to speak when there was a power failure. Before Jasmine could react she felt a sudden pull and in no time she was on the floor. Saahil was trying to pin her down. She opened her mouth to scream when his hand closed her mouth. Slowly Jasmine felt his other hand moving on her body as he was caressing her. His hands were moving at lightning speed on her body. One moment they were here the other moment they were there. She tried hard to push him away but he was far stronger than her. She could not do anything more than make grunting noises from her mouth as his hands explored each and every inch of her body. 

Slowly he started removing her clothes and forced his mouth on hers for a kiss. She could clearly hear the ruffling noises in the darkness. She closed her eyes tightly. “No....ooo.....” she wanted to scream, "This can’t be happening to me." She didn't know what he was doing to her, but she knew whatever it was, it didn't seem right. She was too scared to even scream for help...and suddenly it was over.  She realised he had left the room when she heard the door being opened. Groping in the dark she finally managed to find her clothes and put them on. She was trembling with fear. She had barely taken a step or two when she collapsed on the floor. All of a sudden she started crying badly. It as if the skies were sharing her grief by shedding tears in the form of rain. She cried for hours but the pain in her refused to go.

After a long time when her tears were dried up she saw the power was back and her parents were there to pick her up. All the while on the way back home she was unusually quiet. But her parents tired from a daylong work did not notice anything it. Jasmine could not sleep the entire night. She tossed and turned in the bed as the nightmare of what had just happened continued to chase her.  The next day being a Sunday she decided to confide into her mom. She gathered a lot of courage and started by telling her mom about how uncomfortable this guy was making her feel. But her mom interrupted her in between to say, ‘Oh …Saahil? I know Mrs. Khanna told me. Just relax it all must be your imagination. You have always been in a girl’s school and have never interacted with a boy that is why you are feeling so uncomfortable. He is a nice boy. There is nothing to worry about it. It is normal. I am sure you will be fine soon.’ Saying this she got busy in her work again. Jasmine left the room feeling disappointed. Her own mother had refused to believe her and rubbished her fears to be her imagination.

After this incident Jasmine could never speak to anyone about this as she felt let down by her own parents who refused to believe her. Over night she became a quiet person from a lively girl that she was. She grew up to be a timid lady, shy of talking to strangers, an introvert who always seemed scared. Dejected with life Jasmine tried killing herself a couple of times. Hurting herself by making cut marks on various parts of her body became a routine. Her hands were full of such marks as she continued to punish herself for a crime done by someone else. She had started hating herself so much that detested seeing her own reflection in the mirror. She blamed herself for all that was happening to her. She had resigned herself to fate.

Seeing no reaction from Jasmine’s end in any manner, Saahil had become bolder in his advances towards her. He left no chance in getting close to Jasmine. At any given opportunity he would feel her body, caress her, fondle her breasts or just kiss her when no one was seeing. The changes that Jasmine underwent were over looked by people thinking she was growing up to become a lady. Her parents were glad she had left her childish ways and was now behaving like a coy lady. Though there was nothing visible to a naked eye to realise what was happening with her but deep within her a child’s soul was dying daily in bits and pieces. 

Time passed by with no change in her condition and her school life was coming to an end. On the last day of her school as the world welcomed her to adulthood, she was wondering where her life was going to lead to. She could see people around her planning their futures, talking about great careers, marriage, relationships....something which Jasmine could not think of. She felt all this was something "normal" people do and she felt she was abnormal, not one of them anymore. She had an ugly facet of her life which she never wanted anyone to know. She was scared of letting anyone come close to her for the fear of being made fun of. But she also knew deep inside her heart, she wanted to experience love. She so much wanted to lead that "normal" life which others were talking about. There was an internal fight between her heart and mind in which eventually her heart won. She decided it was enough and she had to take things into her hands to save her own future. She could not let herself die each day. She would not let this demon take control over her life and ruin it beyond repair. 

She thought about this for days together and came up with a well devised plan to bring this gruesome act to an end. She used the internet to find out all the relevant details about it in terms of law and also took down contact numbers of few help-lines. She spoke to the counselors there and understood what could be done further. She rehearsed the scene mentally almost a zillion times. Every time her mind wavered she would think of all the pain she had undergone to get back her vengeance. Firmly determined about her nest move she waited anxiously for an opportune moment to attack.

It was not long before she got her chance. That weekend Mrs. Khanna had to urgently go out to visit an ailing friend which was unavoidable. Saahil assured her that he will stay at home to be with Jasmine and take care of her. Convinced about the arrangements in place she went for her social visit. Jasmine returned from school to find the house empty. She had searched the entire house and still could not find her anywhere. Her heart started pounding loudly as she approached the bedroom to check if Mrs. Khanna was there.  Not finding her there, she turned around to come face to face with Saahil. She immediately recognized the same look of lust in his eyes.  

The next moment just when history was about to repeat itself she pushed him hardly to the floor. Before the demon could seize control over her, she grabbed a vase lying on the nearby table and stared into his eyes for the first time with all the anger seething within her. She could see the fear in his eyes and that gave her more confidence. In a very confident voice she said, “Don’t you dare touch me ….You have done enough damage to my life. Not anymore. One more time you try to come near me or touch me, I will call the police….believe me one more time and I will not spare you’. She smashed the vase on a nearby table letting its pieces hit his face. While he was trying to save himself from those pieces, she bolted out of that place and locked door from outside. 

And then she started running till that house was out of her sight. After walking for some distance she started running out of breath and suddenly she fell to her knees. She looked towards the skies let out a huge cry of relief. She was shivering with fear, and she continued crying till she felt better. Wiping her tears, she got to up to go home with a renewed vigor. 

Lost in her own thoughts she was walking fast towards her home, when her reflection on a nearby car's window caught her attention. She stopped to examine her reflection more closely.What she saw surprised her...for the first time in her life she saw a different Jasmine look back at her from that mirror. She had a glow on her face and a serene calm. Looking back at her reflection, she smiled, ‘This might not be a happy end but it is surely a new beginning....’ she thought to herself.

Later on she found out about some special weekend courses to keep herself occupied even on Saturdays. Though she missed Mrs. Khanna she was firm on her decision to not let anything deter her mind. She continued to visit Mrs. Khanna once in a while with her parents. And every time she came face to face with Saahil she stared back at him with anger in her eyes which seemed to say, ‘Don’t you dare…!

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