It was a cloudy afternoon; heavy winds were blowing threatening a heavy downpour. It was Meenakshi’s first day at her internship with an NGO and she was bored. Every time the phone blipped or someone opened the door, her eyes lit up in anticipation of some work. However this time she got lucky when the door opened.
“Hello! I’m Ribu; you must be Meenakshi, the new intern?” She nodded a yes and exchanged pleasantries. “We will be working together for a few days. I was told you are very good in dealing with people, so today we will put that to a test shall we?”
As they walked out of the office he filled her with information, “We are going to a rehabilitation centre down town, where you need to talk to a few of the patients. Believe me! it is not easy at all. I can’t blame them either, because their past says it all. As a procedure, read this document while we drive down, it gives you certain instructions” Meenakshi completed her under graduation and was on vacation before she joined post graduation in counselling psychology. She was good with this stuff and was hoping to meet her first outside world patient today.
Soon they reached their destination. The founder of the centre was there to greet them, “Thank you for coming within such a short notice, Ribu and Meenakshi. Yesterday 10 young women were entrusted to us by the Police after they raided a prostitution centre. I’m at loss for words, many of them are still not in a position to talk or even attend to their basic needs. Just one of them is somewhat responding to our queries and trying to speak up. So I thought some help would be great! This way please”
As they walked in, they saw a very young girl sitting by the window. Meenakshi alone walked in and others stood by the door. The girl was startled, and shielded herself from view. Meenakshi approached her with care so that she won’t freak out further. After a few minutes, the girl looked up at her, and things started to loosen up a little bit further. The girl understandably turned down the handshake and sat with her head on the knees, her eyes looked red after crying for long. She refused to eat and silence hung in the air for long. Without warning, she burst into tears. She couldn’t speak a proper sentence and Meenakshi had to string them in her mind. Her skin, Meenakshi noted, showed traces of those things that no human should ever endure; puncture marks, burns and scars and insurmountable pain that didn’t leave a physical mark.
“I was born in a good family, not rich but not poor. We lived in a small apartment; everything was so normal and so much fun. Right after my 17th birthday, my life changed completely. I met someone whom I shouldn’t have. There was this charming guy who recently moved into my colony. His name was Rocky. He looked as if he was from a very decent upbringing, clean and decent clothing. We never spoke, but one day he came up to me and said I looked beautiful. I was taken aback and I blushed! … ”
She continued on how she grew fond of him and one day decided to sneak out of her house to spend a day out with him.
“ … I was so stupid to do it. The last day I saw my family. I hated them when I stepped out. He was so well mannered and I got no hint of what is to happen. I got an auto, that’s all I remember” The little girl was drained already; she didn’t lift her head or spoke a word after that. Not wanting to push her further, she came out.
The rains poured their hearts out that day, Meenakshi wished the little one dd it too. Her medical records showed she needed months of treatment and emotional care for a longer period. Unable to scan through the intricacies presented in her medical report, and the fact of how havoc was unleashed in the name of love, Meenakshi wept uncontrollably.
Yet irony was when her first patient gave her the strength to continue!