An Unsullied Existence
An Unsullied Existence
Rania was a bubbly twelve-year-old girl. Beautiful like Cinderella, a complexion as fair as Snow White, curious just like Alice in Wonderland, and an adventurer like Little Red Riding Hood. Teacher's favorite, and parents' little princess she was. She lived in the small town of Raigad, a four-hour drive from Pune.
One day, in June, when the summer vacations were about to end, Rania went with her uncle to buy new books, school bags, and other items for the next session beginning in July. Little did she know that the first rainfall of the year would bring her pain of a lifetime. It was pouring, and she was about to reach the car with her Uncle after shopping and having her favorite cassata ice cream at her favorite ice cream corner. She got all drenched and was sneezing. As they reached home, her Uncle persuaded her that let him change her clothes, as she was already shivering. With a sly smile and a devilish intention in his mind, her Uncle, on the pretext of helping her change her wet clothes, abused her sexually that night and she cried in pain for hours. Her parents were out of town for some work for 1 week. The next day, as she was shivering in fear and pain, her Uncle brought chocolates for her and asked her to take both with him. She threw away the chocolates and was about to run away but he caught her and forced himself upon her again, abusing her sexually. This went for 3-4 days, and the day her parents were arriving he warned her not to open her mouth, otherwise, she would have to face harsh consequences.
Actually, her father was terminally ill and was being treated for the same in a hospital in Pune. Every month they have to go for a week for the treatment. She was well aware of her father's health, so she kept mum. This abuse continued for months until one day, Rania conceived. She was not aware of it. After the first trimester, her mother observed that and took her to a gynecologist and asked her how all this happened. When Rania narrated the incident, it devastated her mother that her daughter's culprit lived in the same house. She told everything to her husband, but he was helpless as he was bedridden. Rania's uncle took advantage of this situation and blackmailed Rania's mother to ask her husband to sign the property papers of their property in Raigad and Pune, in his name, if they want him to go away from this place forever, and save themselves from being mocked at by the society.
Rania's father cursed his karma for having such a satanic younger brother. But he loved his only daughter, and she was the apple of his eye.
He transferred the property in his brother's name and the latter left them forever. Rania was not physically fit to undergo an abortion, so her parents decided to take Rania to her ancestral village in Beed and give birth to the child there.
But, it was not easy. Rania's father, Mahesh Nagarkar was the son of the sarpanch in a village in Beed, and taking her there would mean tarnishing their family's image. They decided to take her to an NGO in Pune and give birth to the child. Later Mahesh and Rania's mother Aarohi gave their name to the baby boy born. Rania was admitted to a new school and she was also made to undergo therapies to come out of the trauma and pain.
But her pain did not end here. Destiny had something else in store for her. When she was 16 years old, her parents died in a car accident while returning back to Raigad from Pune. Rania was shattered completely as the baby boy was her responsibility now. A neighbor who was a social worker helped her in this plightful situation of hers. Sometimes God sends angels to help good people in times of turmoil. She was sent to a women's NGO and the baby boy to childcare.
Later, Rania studied hard, as the little boy was her responsibility, and due to her efforts, she received a government scholarship and fetched a seat in one of the prestigious colleges of Delhi University. She learned martial arts at the NGO and this boosted her confidence to a great extent. After graduation from the coveted Stephen's College, Delhi, she prepared for the civil services and became an IPS officer in the first attempt itself. The first thing she did after joining the services was to further this grave issue of child sexual abuse. She took all NGOs under her region into confidence and started giving lectures at schools and colleges. Awareness was spread through social media, radio, newspapers, and word of mouth. Many girls and even boys, not only from poor localities but also from reputed families and good schools came to the forefront and shared their experiences of sexual abuse at home or outside. A helpline was started for the purpose and phones were installed in localities, school premises, and other areas of the city. Many children were saved by this noble and courageous endeavor. Rania was felicitated for her work and was awarded for the same by the local bodies, state, and central governments, and her commendable work was featured in many international magazines and was shown by broadcasting houses like the BBC, and the CCN, who made documentaries on her life.
Rania is now an old woman. Retired from the civil services but she is as energetic and enthusiastic as she always was. Her son is studying at Harvard and aims to be an Astrophysicist. She married a fellow IPS officer and has a daughter who is studying at the London School of Economics and aims to join the United Nations and serve the world. Rania stays with her husband in a small town of Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh where they continue to run an NGO by the name Umang, her baby brother's name. Her husband has been her pillar of support and continues to be so. He admires Rania and is planning to write a book on her life, biography and gift it to her on their 25th wedding anniversary next year.
Rania's husband is keeping this a secret and completing the book with their kids.
As Rania retires to sleep, Abhay, looking at her in awe and with pride, writes this story to email it to their kids in Boston and London.
He concludes for the day by dedicating these lines to Rania-
"I saw life in you more than I could ever have lived it myself."
And switching off the side lamp, taking off his spectacles, he sleeps beside Rania, feeling blessed to have a wife like her.