My mom and dad got divorced when I was young. I was raised by my mother who was mentally ill and blamed everyone for everything. She would often take her anger out on me. My dad, though emotionally distant, supported me financially.
He had a tough childhood and I can understand to some extent why he behaved the way he did.
My mom was the kind of person who would beat me black and blue for every possible reason. Once, she beat me up while I was asleep because she dreamt that I’d done something wrong. Although my dad always encouraged me to live with him, I would’ve felt guilty for leaving my mom.
She would’ve cursed me and ensured that I felt bad about choosing my dad over her.
She had no friends and would never leave the house. Her daily activities consisted of reading the Bible, praying, cooking, eating, sleeping and watching channels that preached Christianity. She took money from my dad but cursed him all the time. My dad also kept cursing her. This was the situation of my family.
When I passed class 10, I went to study in a college where marks meant everything. I remember asking my Botany professor a doubt and he didn’t know the answer.
He said, “Learn it by heart and write it in the exam. It doesn’t matter whether you understand it or not.”
I struggled for almost a year to cope with the pressure of securing high marks. But I couldn’t handle it any further and quit before my board exams. I was able to convince my parents and they agreed but my father decided to send me to a boarding school for Class 11 and 12.
What’s your memory of your first time in a boarding school? Were you crying? Were you homesick? For me, it was a breath of fresh air.
I joined the boarding school in 2012, and the place has given me some of my best memories to date. Initially, there was some friction between the other girls in my class and me. Getting along with people was never my thing and I’d always been a loner.
Since childhood, no one really understood what it was like to have an abusive mother and a distant father.
In such a scenario, you tend to make your own little world in your head to escape the reality. So, I spent most of my time in my fictional world. But when I joined boarding school, I was forced to come back to reality. I had to be smart and fast to keep up with the students and the routine of the school.
I finally settled in and then came a new twist in the tale of my life.
My Christian mom (I have nothing against Christians but my mom had a backward way of thinking) had led me to believe that there is only one man for every woman and that is your husband.
You need to give your virginity only to your husband and bare his babies. That was her definition of a woman’s happily ever after.
When I asked her about herself, she said that my dad had not realized that he still loved her. They've been separated for 7 years and divorced for 8 and my dad is in a serious relationship with someone else. But my mom refuses to accept the reality.
With such an upbringing, love was never my agenda when I joined the school.
And then I met H. He was the class clown, a funny gujju guy who loved cracking lame and stupid jokes. He also enjoyed flirting with every girl he met.
In the beginning, I had a crush on another guy and H would tease me about him. Soon, we became good friends and H started liking this girl called M. I was helping him in wooing her.
Then came our yearly trip to Madhya Pradesh. I remember H paying for my ice cream when we were walking back after visiting a palace. We were talking about M and how he could charm her when another student walked past us and teased that we looked like a couple.
We laughed so hard but little did I know that the joke would be on me in a few days.
We returned from our trip and everything was going well. Another guy from my class had proposed to me and I was going to accept his proposal.
One evening, we had prep (evening study sessions before dinner) but since there was no teacher, everyone was having fun outside the class. The couples were romancing while the others were fooling around. My class was situated on the top floor, which had the library and the lockers.
There was a dark corner between my class and the library. H and I were casually talking outside the class. Suddenly, someone ran upstairs shouting that the teachers had come.
The couples split up and walked back to their classes. Everyone else also rushed back. As soon as H heard the warning, he panicked and pulled me into the dark corner. For the first time, I was so close to him and felt a weird type of heat within me, a kind of fire burning between us. Panting, I looked up into his eyes and felt a sudden rush in my chest.
I had an urge to kiss him but before I could gather my courage, he pulled away.
It took me some time to get back to my senses. We didn’t talk to each other until the next morning. Both of us decided that it was best to forget the incident and move on.
I said yes to the guy who had proposed to me but we barely lasted for 3 days. I broke up because I’d suddenly started seeing H in a different light.
I’d blush and smile whenever he was around. In my imaginary world, we were already dating.
Then he sent me a letter (that’s how the guys and girls communicated outside class) claiming that he loved me and had always had a crush on me. The rest of the letter mentioned sweet things about his crush.
Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks and I thanked God for listening to my prayers until I saw the end of the letter.
It said, "Everything that I’ve written above is b******t. I was just trying to make C (his friend who had a crush on me) jealous. " My heart broke into a million pieces. I had always hoped he would fall for me but it was all in vain.
M and H became close and he started spending all his time with her.
People started seeing me as a desperate person.
One day, after a long time, H and I were talking when our friends asked us to join them in a game of truth and dare.
We were spinning the bottle and one of our classmates dared H to kiss me. But we laughed it off and continued with the game. Lunchtime arrived and everyone left the class. I was alone. By then, I had forgotten about the dare.
Just as I was packing my bag, I saw H. He smiled at me and just when I was about to leave, he held me and kissed me. I was horrified.
Though I was happy about it, my Christian upbringing made me feel very guilty.
I worried that if people found out, they would call me names. The kiss lasted just a few seconds before I pushed him away. He said that it was for the dare. I was still in shock and left from there.
I worried that he would spread rumors about me, as he had a reputation for spreading rumors.
Things were normal for a while. However, during our vacation, C messaged me on Facebook and asked if I had kissed H. I was ridden with guilt.
By the time the vacation was over, everyone knew what had happened or so I thought. H’s sister who was a year senior to us and was also the head girl of our school yelled at me and slapped me.
When I revolted, she accused me of molesting her brother.
I didn’t know how to respond; I was shaken and embarrassed. The next day I learned that H had told everyone that I molested him and forced him to kiss me. I was shocked beyond belief.
The person whom I’d considered a friend had stabbed me in the back.
For almost 22 days, all the students called me s**t, spoke behind my back and laughed at me whenever I passed by. But they say karma is a b**** and it’s true. I received another letter from H where he wrote that I’d changed.
He went on and on till he got to the point where he said that I was no longer the same girl whom he’d kissed.
I showed this letter to his sister. Now, the tables had turned. But the story doesn't end here. What happened next is another long story for another day. But I have a feeling that I might Always have to fight or my dignity.