I was just 15 years old when I got married.
I was 10 when my mother passed away. Dad was devastated because he had to look after 4 kids. People began saying “the girls have grown up, get them married”. I thought life will change for the better. Everything will be mine.
To cook your own food and have enough to eat. I thought I have been struggling here anyway
might as well struggle at my in-laws. They found the youngest son of a well-to-do family. They said, there is a boy. He has a house. He is from a well-to-do family. Get her married to him. They got me married within 2 days! First day of the marriage…
and I didn’t know much about sex. And I used to be scared about this stuff, which was true.
I didn’t know what all of this was. They thought am a motherless daughter, I know everything about this stuff. He began acting out every night. He’d sit with food and alcohol till 2am.
He’d throw the plate on the wall. I had to clean up afterwards.
I’d say I’m not your servant to clean up after you.
He’d say “why else have I got you?” I woke up one morning and was about to freshen up when I saw his family had come over.
They’d talk in front of me saying, “These girls have planned of all of this.
They want to usurp the flat.” His mother said to my husband, “You’re a
eunuch. You’re ruining my name. You can’t even control a girl.
Go tear her clothes and rape her. Let’s see what her father and aunt will do.” A while later, he began groping me. I got really scared. In the evening as soon as it was 7, I’d pray for the night to end. He’d drink and slap me.
He’d pull my hair and not leave for hours. Everyone around is listening but no would
step in. Everynight he’d rip my clothes apart and if
I kept quiet, he’d bite me on my hands. One day he tore my clothes and tried throwing me out of the house. I said no, I won’t go. No matter what, I won’t I would clench my fists and I’d think of picking up something to hit him. But I thought, in case it didn’t hit him then he’d beat the daylights out of me. I thought once we have a baby he wouldn’t trouble me for sex. On the third month, he kept his knee on my legs for 15-20 minutes! He’d get the cylinder out, take out the pipe, he’d hit me with the cylinder. When I found out I was pregnant with my second baby, I started crying. Then one day, he hit me so much,
he slammed my head against the wall 5-6 times. I ran with a dizzy head, took an auto to the police station. “Who hit you?” “Husband hit you?”
“Go to your house, go to your sister’s house, go to any relatives house.”
“Stay there for 10 days.” I decided then and there that if I stay here
any longer, I’d surely die. And not just death but a horrible death They treated me like one treats a beggar.
Now I’ll show him what a woman is. I told him upfront that I won’t live with
you anymore. What did you say?
I’m not going to live with you! My brother-in-law helped me in running away.
Because he was hitting so badly. At night, he ran behind me with a sword in
his hand. I kept running with my 2 kids, one in my hand
and one on her own. The kid couldn’t even run.
I went to my sister’s house that night. My sister’s husband said you are a sister
to me. We’ll take care of you.
I waited years to listen to those words. I hoped someone would say this! Everything was going good, We had 10 days of happiness. I had never seen those beautiful lovely nights. But, he burnt my brother-in-law’s auto-rickshaw.
My brother-in-law’s mother wasn’t a good person. He told my sister to make me leave. Then I had a word with a priest in a Gurudwara
and asked him if they offer shelter to the needy.
He said, “a Gurudwara is the Lord’s place, come and leave whenever you feel like it.”
Without a word to anyone else, I took shelter at the Gurudwara with my kids.
I stayed there for 4-5 days. They gave me a mattress and a blanket.
I’d eat and sleep at the free kitchen where they serve food to the devotees.
The gave me food and milk for the kids. And the kids would wander around homeless,
with no roof over the head. The kids eventually began troubling me for food. I then thought I have to start earning anyhow We’d walk all the way from CBD to Vashi.
We had only 20 rupees in our pockets because didn’t have more money than that. When I used to walk on these footpaths, I’d think
if only I could get one small hut just like these ones, I would some how manage to pay 200-300 rupees as rent. My husband would always taunt me that what would I do for a living? You’re uneducated, you’d have to work as a prostitute or in a dance bar. But I was firm on not doing anything of this.
I’d choose that option only when I have to choose between life and death. Around the same time, I met a woman and asked her to help me with a house and I’ll manage bread and butter. She told me she knows a man who has a spare house with no water and electricity.
I immediately said yes and shifted in. After 2-3 days, she called me to her place and said,
“What will you make of your life?” I said, “I’m thinking of working as a cook in about 4 houses. 1000 from each home will pay me 4000 per month.” She said, “I’m telling you that the owner of the house is a poor soul, his wife is always unwell and he has needs you know. He’s saying he’ll give you furniture for the house.
You understand what I mean right? Don’t you want a good future for your kids?”
I said, “Of course I will look after their future. I’m not going to be someone’s mistress to do that. You said it today. Don’t every say that again.” I immediately left the house and kept my luggage at my sister’s place. Later, my sister saw an ad for a vacancy in a mess. She told me to go enquire.
I asked if they have some work for me. He asked what can I do?
I said what do you need me to do?
Can you make rotis (bread)? Of course! You’ll have to make 250 rotis in the day and 250 in eve.
I asked how much will it pay?
1200 per month. I immediately joined. I used to go at 8am and I had to make 250 rotis by 12:30. I could take home food for lunch and dinner both. At least, I didn’t have to worry about food.
We soon shifted to a new place in Vashi. It was a cheap place with only 2000 rent per month.
I left the mess. I made new friends in the neighbourhood.
They’d dress up everyday for work. I asked what place do you go to everyday?
They said our work is very comfortable, we massage and we get paid. It pays?
They said it pays really well! I told them to get me a job at their workplace as well.
She said she’ll take me to the place next day. We went to the place, we climbed a flight of stairs.
It smelled strange. Of cream and other products.
The door opened. There was a fat lady sitting. “She’s the new girl.”
“Does she want to work?”
Her senior came. She told him, “This new girl wants to join even her husband abandoned her.”
He asked, “Do you know how to massage?”
“Yes very well!” “Who have you massaged before?”
“My mother-in-law.” “Okay. You can join. It will pay 8k per month.”
“8k?! Works!” I sat with the girls, they were gossiping
sometimes even talking dirty. Then the customers began coming in.
All dirty looking men. I asked, “We have to massage men too?”
The senior told a girl to take me aside and explain. The girl brushed it aside and told me to come tomorrow.
I came back the next morning, when one of the girls’ customer left,
she began sobbing. Her friend asked what happened.
She said, “Today this motherfucker harassed me into giving him a blowjob.” I was shocked and fuming.
Am I in hell? I was paralysed with fear. I asked the girl, tell me what happened? I asked the girl what is this place. She said this place is a massage parlour just for the sake of it. I told her she should’ve told me this before, how do I step out of this place now?
People will assume I’ve been working here as a whore. Don’t act holier than you are, even I came here sincerely.
No no! You made a choice! I quietly ran away without getting noticed.
Finally, I sobbed a lot, I looked at my kids,
I looked at myself, I still pray to God, don’t ever put in someone else’s bed.
Don’t ever make me beg. Whoever else comes at my door, won’t leave empty handed Then I urged my father to help me find work. He’d arrange devotional programs in people’s homes. So he gave me a person’s number.
I was a little scared about having to work at another hell hole. He had a group of Bhangra dancers who’d dance at weddings. I asked him if had any work for me, he replied saying its basic stuff on shoot, come in you’ll get a little of money. It was part of the chorus at prayer meetings. It was tea time and I was surprised to see that we were served for free! On pack up he called up all the girls and boys for their payments. “It’s your day one. How much should I pay you?”
I don’t know. He gave me 400 rupees. They were like 4 lakh to me Then on a different shoot I met a friend of mine.
She said I looked like a friend of her who does stunts in movies. I wondered if there was a job like that.
She asked me if I would do a such job.
I said yes! We left for Ladakh.
They made me wear a fire body suit.
The costume over it and then they lit it. On the first take, the wind blew so hard, the flames burned my face. I cried a lot, they took me to the doctor and I was treated. I got back home, my kids and brother started telling me not to do such dangerous work. I decided I’m never going to quit this. I was back to normal. Stated getting a lot of work as a stuntwoman.
Enrolled my kids in good school. My life began sailing smoothly.
I started making money more than I expected. I was stress free.
Gradually I started getting shows. I’m always excited for every project I get into, as if it’s my first time. My mother means the world to me.
Because all my friends have mothers as well as fathers,
but she has never let us feel the need of a father. I have never been sad or felt like crying over not having him.
She has given us the affection of both a father and a mother. She was recently even a part of Khatro Ke Khiladi on TV. My friends ask me if she is my mom, teachers appreciate how strong and beautiful she is. It feels great to see and understand how hard is she working for us. They have stood by me so well, like parents supporting their kids. For me, they have always been my elders and I have felt the same since ever.
I never let their childhood be taken away. Life is extremely beautiful,
it is also very short. You will get a lot hurdles on the way,
cross them and keep moving and don’t ever think about quitting.