Quite a few girls get enticed by the drugs but whoever lands in the mess loses almost everything till a rescue and rehabilitation is initiated. Babra Wani met one of the unfortunate victims and heard her long tragic story. It is the first-person account of the girl who literally landed in hell and somehow was brought back
“All my childhood I dreamt of growing old, old enough to make my own decisions and carve my own paths. I always wanted to shine to enjoy living my life to the fullest. I was always a happy-go-lucky girl, outgoing, friendly and an extrovert, so enjoying my life never felt tough.
My parents too are very trusting; they always gave me the kind of support and freedom that I wished for and still continue to do so. I was raised like a ‘Princess’. All of my wishes were fulfilled. For me, throughout my childhood nothing was imperfect, everything I wanted I had.
Back in 2018, when I completed higher secondary school education and passed my class twelve, I was over the moon – full of hopes and dreams. I opted for the arts stream because science was never my thing. I got myself admitted to one of the most reputed colleges of Kashmir, I do not want to name it because I do not want people to know me, I just want them to know my story.
I got admission to a college about which I had heard a lot of fun things through my friends and cousins. I too thought maybe just like how it is shown in a Karan Johar movie; this college would be fun too. I thought college life was going to be smooth and full of roses. But I was wrong, what I experienced there was nothing short of a nightmare. I never knew my life after entering college would never be the same.
For the first day in college, I had been preparing for a week. I got myself a uniform stitched, bought a new bag, and all other accessories. I was just a teenager back then, very full of energy and full of excitement. I never, even in my dreams, thought that my excitement would take me to a place, which would become a living hell for me. A place which I thought would supposedly be the anchor to my ship actually sank it.
I remember wearing the new uniform which I had got stitched in a stylish way, with the best quality fibre, got a new hairstyle and a new hair colour too, blonde I remember, and went to the college all decked up. I expected to meet new people, make new friends and hang out with them. As expected I made new friends, hung out with them and made plenty of memories though little of them were pleasant while the rest were dark, the kind of memories I do not want to remember ever. But those memories still continue to haunt me, give me anxiety and send chills down my spine.
I am about to narrate my story, I have a request, please do not judge me.
Sometimes what we wish and expect is not fulfilled, our desires often lead us to the places we never want to be, and the same happened to me. I made new friends and we began doing everything together, from coming to college together to bunking the classes. All that time I forgot how cruel the world can be. I forgot the teachings of my parents, to be aware of strangers. I forgot the concept of ‘stranger danger’. All I remembered was just having fun.
My friends were all good and there was this one girl who was a year older and was way too extra friendly, especially with me. She once came to me and asked me if I was dating someone. Upon hearing my no, she said, “Oh fine let me introduce you to someone.”
I had limited worldly exposure; I did not know how to respond. He was her friend, a close one and in a matter of hours became closer to me too. He knew all the sweet words in the world; he knew the art of people-pleasing and we instantly became the best of friends. He always picked and dropped me. And I never doubted his intentions, we were clear, that we were just friends. And the way he always listened to me, and cared for me. I never ever thought that this boy who I call my friend was capable of doing any harm to me.
One day, while we were all sitting on the college ground on a bunk as usual, I was having a terrible headache because I had woken up early in the morning. I said “I want to go home, this headache is going to kill me,” and he instantly stood up and said, “Hey come on, let me drop you home.” That one ride threw me into a spiral of misery and suffering. It was that one ride, which I will never forget. My biggest regret for my whole life will be taking that ride.
I sat in his car and he started driving. I was crying with a headache. I asked him to stop near a medical shop to get medicine. But he told me that he had medicine for my headache and could cure my headache in seconds and he bought a water bottle too. And he passed both things to me and said, “Take this medicine, it will cure your headache,” I trusted his words, I wish I did not.
I took the tablet and in a matter of minutes, my head started spinning. I could not even comprehend what was happening to me. Even before I could think, I remember I fell into a state of dizziness. After reaching home I felt really sleepy and fell into a deep slumber. To date, I do not remember anything about that day after I took the medicine. However, I still remember I felt very low that day and days that followed. I wish I had not taken that medicine.
It all began there, with just that one tablet.
Soon, I started craving those medicines. So, some days later when I was with him again I asked him the name of the medicine. He said that the medicine is not easy to buy and only he can procure it. So, I asked him to get me one more. He got me two, and then three and with each passing day the number and the quantity only increased. And with each passing second, I became addicted to that tablet.
For me even surviving a moment without the tablet became difficult. I started calling and texting him frantically to get the medicine. After that, there was no coming back for me. I was ready to pay any price to procure the tablets, as I thought that it had become my lifeline and surviving without it seemed impossible. I became an addict.
Even after knowing that the medicine he used to give me was a sort of ‘drug’, I still could not fathom what hell I was falling into. He slowly introduced the heroin, tappaal and SP etc. I also started doing heroin.
Desires are never easy, especially when these come at a cost. I thought having money would help me and I would pay whatever amount I have to buy anything I want to. In the case of the tablets as well I was dead sure that it was just a matter of a few bucks. But I was wrong.
I used all my savings to buy the ‘medicines’. I used the ATMS cards of my mother and sister to withdraw hefty amounts to buy these drugs. I sold my mother’s jewels, used all of her money, and emptied her ATM cards just to support my drug needs.
But sometimes having money is not just enough; sometimes one has to pay the bigger price. And this happened to me… I had to pay a bigger price too. Sometimes I paid the price through my wallet and sometimes I paid it through my body.
I was sexually exploited, sometimes by him and other times by his friends. I was used and abused. He sold me so many times to so many different people that I do not even remember the count now. Sometimes he set me off with just one guy and other times with ten. If I have to calculate, I was sexually exploited by around 20 boys during that time. And this lasted from 2018 to 2019. All this time I suffered from sexual, verbal and physical abuse.
I was an addict, who just wanted to have that ‘medicine’, those tablets every day and I used to get them but after complying with his orders.
He used to hire make-up artists and salons to dress me up and make me presentable and then he sold me to different people on different occasions. He always said, “It is a give-and-take process, keep giving me what I want and I will give you what you need.” He started introducing me to different boys, asking me to “go with them.” Those boys used to give him money in exchange. I believe I became a commodity that could be sold and bought, and that too dirt cheap.
There, however, was not just sexual exploitation, I was subjected to emotional, physical and verbal abuse as well. I was beaten at times, and verbally abused almost every day. He used to beat me every time I said no. He used to hurl abuses at me, and call me names. He said such bad words that I still am not over it.
With induced addiction, the aggression in me was so huge that my whole mental health began to suffer. I started throwing unnecessary tantrums at home. I used to sit all alone and avoid talking to my family. I even sometimes started consuming the tablets and doing heroin even at home as I enjoyed it. My mother grew suspicious but I shrugged off my shoulders. I did not want to get interrupted, I thought it was a joy and it was life. I was deeply mistaken.
When my family learnt about all of it, they became really angry, and now I realise they were right. I was stopped from going out and leaving home without the company of my mother. I was locked up in the four walls of my house. I did not expect that to happen, not back in that day, because I was flying high in the sky.
I knew they were highly disappointed but I did not care. I was totally out of my senses.
My maternal uncle, who works in the police department made sure to know everything about the guy and get him arrested. I am glad that my family still does not know that I fell prey to sexual exploitation, I know if they still come to know about it they will be devastated.
My parents made the tough decision to send me off, out of Kashmir, for a change. For one year at least my parents kept me away from my home. They got me a new mobile connection, and I made new friends. I began a new life. My parents started trusting me again. Since 2020, I began my new life, with new people and a new confidence. Since 2020 my treatment has stopped.
I started feeling really anxious, I developed anxiety issues, fear of people and trust issues, I started doubting every person’s intentions. My parents have suffered with me.
Through the whole process of undergoing treatment, my parents were absolutely with me.
While I still meet bad people in my life, I am grateful that the majority of people that I meet are good ones.
Though I am not in a position to advise people yet speaking from my own personal experiences, do not trust anybody not at all. Young girls need to know that we have to trust our own instincts, our own sixth sense. And if you know that somebody is involved in any immoral activity, stay away from them, because it is you who suffers in the end, you, your family suffer, nobody else.
And if you think this is just my story… you are wrong.”
(The Victim has anonymously talked to the correspondent)