Slipping Away12 mins 23.7K 12 mins 23.7K
December 20th 04:15
Here I am, standing in a pool of blood, punished for no mistake of mine. I walked out of my room, onto the rooftop garden gazing at the dark sky, impatiently waiting for the sun to rise, for darkness to dissolve in light. I had no idea what the next minute had in store for me. I felt myself fenced by utter fear, guilt and madness. A chill ran down my spine, I sensed numbness. What will happen when my parents wake up? I hurried back into my room and laid back on the blood stained floor, breathing the air that smelled blood. I closed my eyes letting my mind to relax. In contrast, it was overflowing with memories.
December 19th 11:45
"Hey Monica, are you going to propose him today?" It was Anita, my colleague.
"No, I am not sure if he feels the same way as I do. I need to wait."
"I have been hearing this for more than a year now. I see you both together all the time. At your desk, cafeteria, bus bay, everywhere. I am sure he will accept your proposal."
Yes, I fell head over heels in love with Praveen, who was once my college senior and now my colleague. I felt a spark within when I saw him for the first time in college and I wonder how I feel the same even today. I invented ways to talk to him and it took me 3 years to get his attention. We became close after he moved out of college. I quit my first job and joined his company for a lower pay just to be with him. Love at first sight isn't always stupid, I suppose!
"Right! Are you sure it is a good idea to propose to him today?"
"I don't feel delaying is a good idea either," saying thus she walked away from my cubicle.
I gained all my courage and decided to express my love for him before leaving office. I was both excited and nervous at the same time.
December 20th 05:15
The sound of an alarm from my neighbor pulled me back to reality. I started feeling icy, the numbness spread all over me. I felt insecure to stay in my room. I moved down to the master bedroom, where my parents were asleep. A look at their innocent face multiplied my pain. The sun's rays gradually peeked in through the window intruding their sleep. My mother immediately pulled her toes into her blanket while my father shifted sides to escape sunlight. Without more ado I moved back to my room and dumped myself to the room's corner. Tension surrounded me, fear threatened me, pain chocked me. 'Forgive me mom' saying thus I closed my eyes again.
December 19th 15:30
"Monika, the manager is calling you in," one of my colleague called out to me.
I was waiting for this moment. I had got my Visa approved and was waiting for Raghu, my manager to get the approval from our client on scheduling my travel. Onsite has been my dream. Western culture, travel, visiting places did attract me initially but above all it was money. No, I ain't money minded. I was in need of money to repay my educational loan, to help my dad with his debt and much more.
"Raghu, you called for me?" I was standing outside his cabin waiting for him to acknowledge.
"Yeah Monika, come in," he said.
"Tell me Raghu. What is it about?"
"I am really sorry Monika, the client has rejected the onsite offer. I shall try my best to convince them in tonight's meeting."
Even before he completed his sentence I collapsed on the chair holding my head. What am I going to do now? How will I get back my mother's jewels from the pawn shop? My dad bought our new house as I promised him I would pay his debt. I have to take care of my educational loan. With the salary I was paid I could hardly manage my daily expense.
December 20th 06:00
I heard footsteps climbing the stairs that reached out to my room. I started gasping for air, panicked to face my mother. I wanted to beg her to not to visit my room. I felt every part of me screaming for forgiveness. Here she was, standing near the room's entrance staring at me not knowing how to react. She held her chest tight and leaned on the door panting heavily. I ran to her trying to hold her in my arms. After seconds of breathlessness she screamed out loud to my dad. She hit her head hard against the door repeatedly crying out 'Monika'.
"Mom, listen to me. Everything will be fine. Please don't hurt yourself." I cried out to her but it all went in vain.
My dad came running hearing my mom cry. He came shouting 'What happened?' The minute he neared my room he held the door tight to balance himself from collapsing. For the first time I saw tears rushing down my father's cheeks. Slowly his muffled cries turned loud and ferocious. I turned and saw what they were staring at. Yes, it was a pathetic situation with me lying dead on the floor surrounded by blood. I had my eyes wide open, tongue let loose on my lip, legs spread apart, torn dress and a cut open wrist. I slapped myself hard for doing this to them. 'Ma' I cried out holding her foot. Even after knowing there is no chance of me being alive, my dad ran to my body hoping for a miracle. He lifted me and held me close to his chest taping my cheek gently. 'Monika, tell me all this is just a prank. Wake up' he said crying with a smile on his lips. Having me remain still he started slapping me harder shouting 'Wake up'. He took his mobile from his pocket as he wiped his tears with his shirt. He called for an ambulance. Within no time they arrived. The blood on me had gone dry, my body had gone cold, I am dead but my dad wouldn't give up on me.
'I am sorry daddy' I cried as I hugged him, but he couldn't feel my existence. My mobile was ringing continuously in my Pajamas. My dad pulled my mobile out and attended the call on speakers.
"Hey Monika, I have good news for you." It was Raghu.
My dad was not able to respond to the call that he kept crying holding the phone close to my ears.
"Monika, is everything alright there? The client has accepted your onsite offer. Monika? Do you hear me?" He disconnected the call after the prolonged silence.
A beautiful life was awaiting my presence but here I am crying for landing on a cowardly decision. I wished to die again.
December 19th 17:00
"Why are you looking dull?" it was Praveen at my desk.
"Client rejected my onsite offer." I frowned.
"Come on! Raghu would definitely fight for you this time. Trust me. It's time to leave office. Let's go." Saying thus he lifted me up holding my hand.
His words boosted my confidence. I felt how much I needed his support at this time. I got reminded of what I promised Anita this morning.
"Praveen, shall we go for a coffee and start a little late today?"
"Why not! Anything for you." He said smiling at me.
All the pain I was holding for the past an hour vanished in his company. We moved to the cafeteria and started talking nonstop for an hour. I tried my best to initiate the topic on love but I failed.
Without further delay I started, "Praveen, when do you plan on getting married?"
"Marriage? Should be after 2 years, but why?" he asked smiling at me.
"I don't know how to begin, but..." after a pause, I continued, "I love you Praveen, I need you throughout my life."
He remained silent for some time. He clearly avoided looking into my eyes. I understood that he was feeling uncomfortable to face me. Finally he said, "Sorry Monika. I have been seeing a girl here for quite a few months. I have fallen in love with her. I am sorry."
I felt my blood rushing through my veins that I felt dizzy for a moment. After seconds I realised I had been overreacting in public.
Suppressing everything within I chose to break the silence, "Really? Which girl is that? I am happy for you." Saying thus I pulled him along to catch the next bus. My last confidence in life was Praveen, with him beside I could achieve anything at ease. I was not able to digest the fact that he is not mine anymore. I convinced myself 'Everything will be fine soon'.
December 20th 08:00
The doctor upon examining declared me dead. Suspecting it to be an unnatural one they recommended police intervention and a post-mortem. The path outside the ICU was almost flooded with my friends and relatives. My eyes were fixed on Praveen who was standing beside my father, weeping like a kid. His eyes were red and swollen. He seemed to be my father's only support right now. Would you believe if I said I felt a spark even when I saw him now?
Police had arrived and took my body for post-mortem. Praveen took a seat beside my mom, who was fully exhausted but couldn't stop her tears. While grabbing hold of Praveen's hands she started crying even more saying how much she needed me. That was when I heard Praveen utter these words, "I loved her more than anything aunty. I cannot imagine a life without her. I wanted to surprise her at office today but..." he cried slapping himself hard.
I couldn't bear this anymore, having no one to hear my cries, no one to wipe my tears, no one to embrace me within. I needed them more than they needed me now. I couldn't stand watching all this. I wished everything to be just a nightmare and wake up relieved from all my sufferings. I sat next to Praveen leaning onto his shoulders, holding his hand while on the other end he was longing for this moment to happen in real. 'I messed up Praveen, I am a loser' I kept saying it over and over again.
December 19th 00:00
I was standing in my rooftop garden controlling my tears, unable to believe that Praveen is in love with another girl. I didn't want to give up, I hoped he would love me someday. As I was engrossed in my thoughts I was gazing at the houses beside. We were living in a duplex villa within a gated community where most of the houses were still under construction. There were a bunch of workers leaving back to their tents. One of them ogled at me and passed a comment in a language that I never understood. Immediately a group of 3 lifted their heads gawking at me.
Later, I heard some whistles far away. Considering my quandary I chose to ignore them. I wanted to vent out my feelings. As my home theatre system would be high-pitched round the clock, the door that connected my room and our house below was made soundproof. Now, shutting them would not let anyone hear my cries. I went to bed and cried my lungs out for one last time and dozed off.
After about an hour, I heard someone knocking at my door. I was half asleep already that I got up and opened the door lazily. Instantly someone pushed me and locked the door. I came back to my senses on hitting the floor. He looked like one of the construction workers. He was standing right in front of me, inside my room, smiling at me.
"What do you want? Get out of here." I yelled as I grabbed my mobile from my pocket.
My hands were trembling out of fear. He snatched my mobile and threw it far. He sprung towards me pressing my hands to the floor. I screamed as much as I could. I twisted my head, bit his hand and tried to get him off me. He turned voracious as a morbid animal and gave a hard blow to my head, it took some time for me to regain my consciousness. I tried defending myself using my legs but I was too fragile before him. I begged him to let me go but all I got was a tight slapback to back till I fainted.
I woke up after sometime with a torn dress, and fully exhausted. My hands and legs were bleeding out of scars. I couldn't even lift myself off the floor. I cried out loud for help. My pain slowly grew into frustration and made me act wild. I dragged myself to my room's cupboard and looked at myself in the mirror. I was taken aback. I couldn't spell out those words 'I was raped'. How would I face the society? I pulled my hairs out screaming 'What was my mistake?'
For the first time, I regretted being a girl. No, it wasn't the rape, the fact that I couldn't even defend myself enraged me more. I couldn't recall the last time I was even scolded by someone. But today I was attacked brutally by an unknown, how pitiable is that. 'I would smash every man who committed rape' was how I felt whenever I heard, read news about rape. Today all I could do was scream, cry, and plead. I lost my dignity, self-respect, and pride to a sex swilling animal. Yes, he is no man, he is a beast.
I didn't know if I suffered agony, anxiety or rage. I gradually let the situation take control over me. I was sitting lifeless unable to take a decision. A scissor kept on my table pulled my attention. I badly wanted to see me dead, I wanted to end everything and disappear. I took the scissors and slit my wrist. With every drop of blood my mind recollected the brute's face. I picked my mobile and saw my mother's face for one last time and kept it in my Pajamas.
December 21st 10:00
I was brought back to my home swathed in bandages. I saw my dad crying out to Praveen in private, 'The report says she was raped before she died. How will I tell this to her mother?' He collapsed on the floor crying.
If I had been bold enough to survive the situation I would have had an entirely different life, a beautiful one. It is too late for me to realise "Death is more painful than an extremely painful life."
I wish I was still alive to say the world, "Be bold, fight against rape."
Rape is a crime, being raped isn't.