December 13, 2012
“Mamma, that Nuna uncle touches my private parts” said Chutki.
Listening to this sentence her father ran into the bedroom and slapped her across the face. She wailed out in pain and shock. Sheena, chutki’s mother was stunned by her daughter’s revelation and her husband’s behavior. She knew that her husband was furious with what Chutki had spoken and to probe her more would only mean another flare up from her husband.
“Who told you all this rubbish about private parts and all? Why are you talking all this dirty talk?” Babu roared.
“Our teacher told us that we should not allow any elders to touch us and if this is happening we should talk to our parents immediately hic hic” Chutki wailed even louder.
“Your teachers don’t take up lessons but do all this nonsense.” Addressing his dumbstruck wife he said “I told you not to put her in that expensive school, now bear the consequences. If she talks like this in front of other people we will have to face humiliation.” He looked once again at his daughter and told her sternly “I don’t want to hear anything about this nonsense again. Did you understand?”
Babu walked out of the house in a fit of rage after his outburst. After walking for more than half an hour he returned home to find the house quiet. Quickly he went into the bedroom and found his wife and child fast asleep. He touched Chutki’s cheek and hair and instantly knew that she had cried herself to sleep. Sheena was holding her tight in her arms like a protective lioness.
A strong sense of remorse and guilt swept over Babu for the way he had treated his daughter. Still he thought how Nuna, who was like his own brother, could do something so ghastly. He too lay on the bed and went off to sleep with the thoughts of making amends.
He smiled at the memory of little Chutki going to school on the first day. With two little pigtails, water bottle around the neck and neatly pressed uniform. She smiled so brilliantly that the teachers were surprised. Although the other children cried and screamed Chutki sat poised on her seat in the classroom. A week after that she started going to school in the school bus and a couple days later learnt her first set of bad words “shut up” she was screaming at her doll. Babu went to her and affectionately told her that only bad people use such words. So Chutki had replied that she heard the bigger kids in the school bus talk to each other like that. Alarmed at the rate at which Chutki had picked up these words Babu wanted to change her school, only when Sheena convinced him that it was good school with an excellent curriculum that he had calmed down. However Chutki was warned not to sit near the bigger children in the bus.
Babu was a small time contractor, however with Nuna’s help he had acquired a housing project and was more than grateful to his friend. Nuna would occasionally come to Babu’s house especially during weekends and spend time with Chutki. He had grown fond of Chutki and so had increased the number of visits. He would bring sweets, chocolates and toys to Chutki, which had earned him her friendship.
Sheena pretended to be asleep when Babu walked in because she did not want an ugly confrontation and scare Chutki more. Thinking back she found visible signs that Chutki was undergoing trauma. She had stopped playing with her dolls and would hide behind Sheena whenever any male relatives or friends tried to talk to her. Her studies had started going downhill very, very slowly. The once bubbly child, she would be withdrawn and fearful if there was sudden noise.
Chutki’s was a very affectionate and respectful child. However recently she had started bursting into tears for silly things. Sometimes when Babu came home tired, Chutki would try and talk to him, but Babu would be too tired and would tell her to go to Sheena. Due to this Chutki had stopped going to her father often. Although Sheena had overlooked this, she now realized that these were the small signs of trauma in her precious child.
Sheena woke up early the next day and from the rumblings in her stomach had realized that the entire family had skipped dinner due to the previous night’s ugly episode. She went about preparing breakfast and by the time she was done Babu walked into the kitchen. She tried her best to ignore him, because she wanted him to know that she was angry with him. However Babu knew his wife only too well. He hugged her and begged for forgiveness.
“Sheena I’m sorry I behaved like that yesterday. I don’t know what got into me. How could Chutki accuse Nuna of something like that? She is just 7 years and how could she talk about touching and private parts?”
“Babu, I don’t know about you, but I just could not see her in that state yesterday. We have to do something about it. I never said this before, but I too never liked Nuna walking in and out of our house at all odd times. Sometimes he even comes when you are not around. I’m a woman and I know what a man thinks with just a look. I find him ogling at me too. However I did not say anything because he has helped with your business growth and moreover if he was just looking at me it was ok. I won’t let that sick pervert near my child anymore.”
“What can I do Sheena? I have just started the housing project, I got the tender only because he gave me some inside information. Now if I do something he will surely sue me and we will be out on the streets. Even I feel sick to the stomach when I think about him being even anywhere near my family.”
“We have to trust Chutki and make her feel loved by listening to everything she says. I don’t want her to hide things from us in the future. If we scare her away she will never come to us in trouble. Come Babu lets make amends.”
Sheena thought about the permanent damage on their daughter’s innocence. Babu was feeling helpless and livid that he had fed a wolf who came in the form of lamb. While questioning his conscience he realized that Nuna had never given out any personal information about himself. Babu did not even know Nuna’s address or his last name.
Sheena held his hand and led him into the bedroom where Chutki was sitting on the bed. There was a look of terror and alarm in her eyes. When Babu went close to her she tried to cower away.
“Chutki, I’m sorry baby, I won’t shout or raise my hands at you anymore. You can talk to your mamma and dada anytime about anything. We will take very good care of you and will not let anyone hurt you anymore.”
Chutki ran into his arms and held him tight. Sheena was proud of her husband and she knew that he would take the right decision to protect his daughter. She did not want to pressurize her husband to choose between family and a friend. She knew that by taking Nuna’s help to obtain the housing project Babu had dug his own grave. This was the first time Babu had made use of unethical ways for business gain and it had back fired big time.
Sheena remembered how Nuna had accidently said that he was from Dholpur. Now with this bit of information Sheena called Saritha her friend at Dholpur. After exchanging a few pleasantries Sheena told her about Nuna and also about Chutki’s accusation. She begged Saritha to help her somehow.
Saritha was shocked beyond belief, but promised to help Sheena. Fortunately Saritha’s husband had contacts with the police and due to this he was able to dig information about Nuna and also about his background and criminal record. Sheena had, unknown to Babu sent Saritha a picture of Nuna from which they found out all the information.
Nuna apparently was absconding from the law and after being charged for assault and kidnapping. With Saritha’s and Sheena’s help the police were able to nab Nuna when he had come to meet Chutki a few days later.
Babu was stunned beyond belief at his good luck. His wife had helped not only nab a pedophile but also his potential blackmailer. He thanked God that the evil Nuna would not be able to hurt anymore innocent children after this.
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