THE MONSTER IN MY CHILDHOOD.
There comes a moment in everyone’s life when we go “Why me?”. For me, that moment came when I was 12 years old. Puberty was a year away and I was, by all definitions, a child. Being extremely strong in sports, I was always, more or less, confined to computer and gaming. Racing games held my attention and while I was playing, I would grow oblivious to my surroundings. I always thought that it was a good thing since it proved that I could concentrate. Little did I know that it would soon lead to excruciating pain.
Around that time, one of my neighbor’s sons visited us. He worked in Mumbai and came home thrice a year. It was during one of holidays that he came to our house. I was, as usual, on one of my gaming pursuits. My mother had then undergone a surgery that made it difficult for her to walk about. So when this person asked for a glass of water, nothing was wrong with it. He pulled up a chair next to me and sat down. He asked me some general questions about my classes and the game and placed his hand on my thigh. I noticed that but it did not really bother me because I thought it was an accident. Then slowly, he started rubbing my thighs. I was still playing and it felt weird, but I didn’t say anything. I finished my game and was about to shut my computer down. His hands inched further and further towards my crotch. I asked him what he was doing and then, finally, he made contact.
I was shell shocked. I did not understand what this man was doing. I asked him to take his hands off me but he wouldn’t listen. Gathering parts of my wits, I ran towards the bathroom, locked the door and started crying. What had he done to me? What was wrong with him? Why did this happen to me? I was crying silently. Tears burned my cheeks. Then I heard my mom say that he was leaving and wanted to say goodbye. I said I had a stomach ache and she went away. After a few minutes, I heard a knock on the bathroom door. Thinking it was my mother, I partially opened the door. Then, it happened.
A hairy hand bolted from the opening and towards my crotch. He kept saying “I only want to see it. Be a good boy and show it to me.” I kicked the door and his hand got stuck. He was still fighting against me, trying to push open the door. Icy horror gripped my heart. What would happen to me if he opened the door? They say fear is a great motivator. I know that to be true now. My hand scrambled to find anything that could defend me against him. Finally, they found my dad’s blade set. I slashed at his wrist with all my might and that monstrous hand vanished. I bolted the door again and did not move for a good two hours.
To this day, I cannot put into words the pain and fear I experienced that day. How could I tell this to anyone? Would anyone believe me? I wished I would just die. When my dad came home that day and asked for me, I broke down in front of him. My mom came too and so did my brother. Through my sobs, I recounted what had happened. When I was done, my dad asked me to relax. He explained to me the concept of homosexuality, the idea of frustrated people and the grave results of rape and how it wasn’t always between the opposite sexes. He told me how lucky I was to escape unscathed. I told him I did not feel lucky. Then he asked me to try and sleep as tomorrow was a new day. All through that night, whenever I closed my eyes, I could see only that monster’s face. I woke up late the next day.
When I walked into the hall on that day, I saw the monster sitting down on the sofa opposite my dad’s. My brother was there too. He was 18, although he looked like he was 22. When they saw me, the monster gave me a dirty stare and smiled. My dad called me to his side and started the following monologue.
“My son told me what happened yesterday. Usually, I’d just have you arrested. You really don’t wanna know what happens to child molesters in prison. But something tells me that you would enjoy that. I cant ask you to leave here. This is your hometown. I cant ask you to stay away from children. That is your personal freedom. All I can do is assure you. I assure you that if I see you even near my house something bad will happen to you. I can also assure you that if I ever see you within 5 meters of any child, something even worse will happen to you. Now, get this over with and apologize to my son.”
The monster just sat there, shocked. He was absolutely stumped. He gave me the dirtiest stare ever and said sorry. He walked up to me and said that he’ll be back for me. While walking out, my brother went up to him and said 3 words that made me feel safe. He said “We’ll be waiting”
That day, I realized three things. I realized that there are sick, sick men in this world. I realized that sexual assault is never the fault of the victim. I also realized that no matter how deep in trouble you are, you’ll always have your family.