"I am going to call the police."....Rohini said, with some trepidation in her voice..
"But why, mom? There is absolutely no reason for it."....Riya said, trying to assure her mother.
"You don't know him. I cannot live in peace knowing that he is back and stalking us again."...Rohini said, visibly worried.
Riya walked towards her mom and sat beside her. She was 18 years old and lived with her 39 year old mother Rohini in a house which was situated slightly away from the main city.
"I don't think he was stalking me. mom. It is only natural for a dad to try and meet her daughter."....Riya said.
"Riya!"....Rohini snapped at her daughter...."I don't ever want to hear you addressing him as your dad again."...
Saying this Rohini walked away agitatedly. After a while Riya could hear her mother talking over the phone to the police. She felt a bit disheartened. She had grown up through her childhood without knowing her father, and now that she got to know who her father was her mother will not let her meet him.
Riya did not talk to her mother the entire evening. She even had her dinner quietly and then retreated to her bedroom. She felt like crying. Her mother had hidden the identity of her father all her life, and she would not have got to know who his father was if the man had not met her and introduced himself yesterday.
Riya was lying on the bed staring at the ceiling blankly. After a while she heard the bedroom door open. Rohini entered the room and came and sat on the bed beside Riya.
"Riya, I know you are angry at me. You think I am not letting you meet your father. But you do not know the truth."
Riya stayed quiet and did not respond. She did not feel like talking to her mother.
"You do not know this man. He is not someone you should ever even talk to."...Rohini tried to convince her daughter.
"Mom! I am not a child any more. You had always told me that my father had died even before I was born. I would not even have known that this man was my father if he had not told me yesterday. What is it that you are hiding?"
Rohini remained silent looking at the floor for some time. Riya could sense that there was something her mother did not feel comfortable to share.
She sat up on the bed and held her mother's hand. "Mom, it's ok. You can tell me. I am your daughter."
"It was 19 years back. I was in the second year of my college then. I had a boyfriend too and I was a happy young girl. Then one day I saw this man stalking me on the road. I did not pay much attention. But then one day he approached me and told me that he liked me and wanted to love me. I thought he was joking and I asked him to fuck off."
Riya was curious at this point. "What happened then mom?"
"But the guy did not give up. He approached me again, with flowers this time. I got angry and slapped him. That was the time I saw the anger in his eyes. And then it happened the next evening. I was walking back from college, when I was suddenly jumped upon by this guy on a deserted road. He overpowered me and slapped me so hard that I fell unconscious."
Riya held her breath....She waited to hear what had happened next.
"When I woke up I found myself in a dark room. I screamed but there was no one to listen. I later found out that I was in the basement of a house. The man held me in that house for 9 months. He raped me every day and every night for all those 9 months. I cannot even tell you what all he did to me.".....Rohini closed her eyes as she recalled the horror of those 9 months.
"Oh god!....How did you escape mom?"....Riya asked, holding her mom's hand.
"I could not. But I had got pregnant at that time. And the man did not stop even after that. When I was into my 9th month then the man tried to bring a doctor. I think it was that doctor who had alerted the police. I was already into my labor when the police barged in. And that is how I had you. You were a gift to me. But my entire life changed after that. My boyfriend dumped me and I did not marry any man after that. The memories of that horror never left me.".....Rohini said with a tremble in her voice.
"And what happened to him?"....Riya asked.
"He was sentenced to life imprisonment. That is all I knew. I never thought I would see him again. And now you know why I get so hysterical hearing that he is back and meeting my daughter."....Rohini had two drops of tear rolling down her cheeks.
"Oh mom!.....You don't need to worry. I will never let him get close to me.".....Riya assured her mother.
But alas! Fate had decided otherwise.