Updated: Sep 23
Story By: Anant Shastri
A few years ago, as part of my internship with a media channel, I was working on a documentary on underage drug addicts. I met children who had been drugged against their will and had been admitted to various de-addiction centres that I visited. In one of the centres in Old Delhi, I met a woman. She was around 22 years old, wore tattered clothes and had a scar on her left eyebrow. It was a big scar that had healed with time but had left its mark behind.
I was told that she had been raped a few times but had no memory of it because she was drugged every time it would happen. It was when the doctors told her that she was pregnant that they figured out that she was raped. Now, she carried her little girl, probably a few months old, in her arms, with a bright light in her eyes.
As I stood outside the main hall watching them on CCTV camera, they were dancing, a swaying dance. When I met her, I doubt she knew that I was watching her, but I knew that she liked my presence around her.
I had assumed that because she would talk to me and tell me her stories, but she felt a huge class difference between us which she would try to talk against. I was from a well-off family, but she had no one. She bragged about how she taught herself English and even learnt to use a computer. She told me about her dreams for her daughter and how her daughter was everything for her. Although she didn’t say it but I knew that had it not been for her daughter, she would have killed herself long ago.
I asked her what medicines she took and based on the names she gave me, I could crudely conclude that she was on anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and medication for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Apart from that she also took medicines to regulate hormones because she gave birth at a very young age.
It was time for me to leave, so I secretly wrote something for her on a piece of paper and discretely gave it to her. I don’t know if she knew what was written on that paper but it did not matter to me, because she smiled so wide that the blackness under her eyes disappeared for a moment. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever met.