Everyone in the hall were quiet and were listening attentively to Reeta when they were interrupted.
“Ma’am, there’s a man who has come to meet you, but I asked him to wait outside in the waiting hall,” Ambika, Reeta’s secretary came to the meeting hall and informed her.
“Does he have a name, Ambika?” Reeta asked with her eyes squinted.
“Sorry Ma’am, his name is Rex, that’s what he said.” Ambika said.
“Oh, Rex!” Reeta’s face lighted up as soon as she heard the name. She looked at the group of women she was talking to and said excitedly, “Speak of the devil and devil is here… You guys are so fortunate to meet the real man about whom I was telling you all… the man who rescued me when I was lying unconscious on the sea beach, you remember.” All the women giggled listening about the rescuer and were curious to see him as Reeta went out to meet and welcome Rex to the rehab room.
Reeta hugged Rex with joy of meeting him after so many years. It had been already 7 years from the time of their first meeting on the beach and after 5 years since they had met each other last. Reeta was always in touch with Rex as she had no one to support her. She struggled so much, running from pillar to post to stand on her feet. They could not speak much with each other at that particular time as Reeta was in her class with those victimized group of women who were rescued and given shelter at Shelter of Justice, an organisation founded and owned by her.
All of them were eagerly waiting to listen to the latter part of Reeta’s story and to see Rex, a kind man, in their own eyes. Reeta walked in to the hall along with Rex introducing him while all others clapped and welcomed him. Rex acknowledged the respect he received and took his seat beside her as she started to speak.
“Now I can continue with my life’s story while enjoying the presence of this great man. Guess what? I am feeling nervous now…” She said laughing while all others giggled as well.
Everyone’s eyes were fixed on Reeta as she went down her memory lane…
I was overwhelmed with emotions because of the life changing incidents that had been happening in my life for last couple of days. Though I heard Rex’s sorrowful stories,I had no patience to understand his pain at that particular time. But I was sure what I should be doing and what I was planning that night. I thanked Rex for everything that he had done for me and being my support for sometime and walked out of his house. Rex asked me to stay back at her place instead of going here and there at that hour of the night but I didn’t want that he should be attacked or harassed for my sake. That’s the reason why I just took his phone number before walking away from him.
I didn’t know where to go as I was walking on the sands in the darkness while the moon beam shined over me with the silent sea seeming to be apathetic towards my plight. Tears were rolling down my cheeks as I walked as if there was no strength in my feet but I just dragged them to move ahead to an aimless journey of my life. I had a bag and some money with me which I had arranged before walking out of the house The Kapoor Mansion forever.
Reeta was in tears and wiping it while narrating her condition of that dreadful night. The women surrounding her were in tears too. Rex was quiet and was happy to see a new Reeta in front of him who had grown up to be a leader and rescuer herself.
Reeta gathered herself again to tell the tale further…
That night I went straight to the train station and took a train for Kolkata, knowing that it would be a cheaper place to live in and far away from the reach of that monster. If he was in the west, I was heading towards the east. It was a mindset that I will simply go in the opposite direction from him. My life in Kolkata was never safe even if I came here far from and on the opposite direction of where Jay was but I had that wish to fight and stand on my own to show to the world around me that, ‘No one can oppress me, living with dignity is my right as it is for any other human created by the same God.’
I had been mistreated, misbehaved with, misinterpreted, misunderstood yet no one could suppress me or oppress me anymore. It was this man, Rex, who never left me… He used to call me twice a day, once in the morning when I used to go out searching for a job or earning and once in the night before I sleep. I started working in different houses as a babysitter. That was the safest work that I found at that particular time as I needed a place to stay as well instead of on the road along with the street beggars. I helped everyone that I met on my way, who were oppressed and suppressed by others and I kept making friends along the way.
I started teaching the kids on the street while I babysat and soon drew attention of those who were sold out for these causes. I was appointed as a social worker as I had my education backing me. And this man was the happiest when I told him that I got a job, a respectful job.
Reeta smiled looking at Rex as he bowed his head down, acknowledging her praises.
“And here, you all see me, your Reeta… Reeta Didi, Reeta Ma’am whatever you call me today. I could found this shelter because of this friend of mine who gave me shelter seven years ago amidst all the odds. Do you all know? This man was harassed even after I took the precaution of not being associated with him. That monster, Jay, forced him and humiliated him to know where I have gone. He tolerated everything for me as a good friend and didn’t open his mouth.” Reeta spoke while clasping her hand with Rex’s with gratitude.
That day’s talk was about to be over with Reeta’s long and dreadful story. The women were so encouraged to hear her story. Rex was happy to see that vulnerable woman lying on the beach whom he rescued once, is a powerhouse now for all others. But there was one young girl who was raped by her colleagues who was not looking very happy and satisfied. Although all of them were still more or less in traumatic state and trying to recover slowly.
“What happened dear Nidhi? Do you need anything my child?” Reeta asked looking at her attentively.
“How could you just leave that monster to live so happily? You left him by just ruining his career? Did he deserve only that much, not more than that?” Nidhi responded posing these questions.
Reeta smiled looking at her, she could understand the cause of Nidhi’s anger for Jay, for all those monsters. And it was her responsibility to make the young mind understand how to deal with those emotions…