A loud truck horn woke me up. I opened my eyes, was blinded by the bright sunshine, and closed them again. I slowly opened them again and tried to make sense of where I was. And why it was so bright.
What the hell? I was on the roof of our house, curled up naked under a thin sheet that was half covering me. My first instinct was to pull it to cover everything, and then sit up. I was buck naked with just a sheet on the roof. The roof that was visible to a bunch of other houses and buildings all around. I had no recollection of how I got there. In fact I had no recollection of anything at all.
And then it all started coming back to me. The celebration with my friends. Then Lallan forcing himself on me. The fucking, the blowjob, vague flashes of the sodomy. But that’s where it ended. What had happened after he invaded my asshole on my bed? How did it I end up here on the roof?
Carefully, I looked around. None of the immediate neighbors were on their roofs, thankfully. I scanned the balconies of the buildings. I saw some people. I didn’t know of they saw me. Luckily, I was in a relatively secluded corner of the roof and not far from the door.
I wrapped the sheet around my naked body and walked into the house.
“Hello?” I called out. “Lallan?”
I walked down the stairs. The house seemed empty. It was a mess though. Furniture and other stuff knocked over, four empty liquor bottles on the cabinet, plates of food spread around the living area. Jesus, what all happened last night?
I could not think too much because my entire body was hurting. My head throbbed. My arms hurt, my thighs were sore. My cunt felt like it had been pummeled with rocks. But the worst was my sore asshole. It hurt and it was sticky. Lallan had definitely and successfully sodomized me.
And then I heard my phone ringing. I didn’t know where it was. I followed the sound and found it under one of the couches in the living room.
“Hello?” I answered.
“Hey honey, how’s it going?” It was Anup, my husband.
I tried to say something but no words came out.
“You there, Shikha?”
“Yeah….yeah I’m here.” I said, laboriously walking around the house, trying to see if Lallan was still around.
“Haha, you sound hungover. Looks like the Stanford celebration was really wild.” he said in his usual good humored way.
“Yes, wild. Very wild.” I said, clutching my throbbing head.
“So….what else is new?” he casually asked.
And I had a long answer ready at the tip of my tongue. What is new is that your wife has just been raped by a random sadistic slum thug. He even fucked her in the ass. And made her give him a blowjob, something which she still doesn’t do for you. But instead, I just said,
“Not much. Listen, I am late for work. Can I call you later?”
“Sure, honey. Love you.”
“Love you too.”
I disconnected the call and then checked my phone. It was a little past 9 in the morning. There were a couple of missed calls from Anup. Then a couple of missed calls from a number I did not recognize. And a text message in Hindi from the same number.
– Fun night. Address by 3 pm. Or it all goes on whatsapp.
I then opened whatsapp and saw that Lallan had sent me dozens of pictures and videos. Of me naked, bending over, sucking his dick, getting fucked. I was barely able to get through a handful of them before closing the app.
I slumped to the floor. So it was not all some nightmare. It really happened. My perfect life, with the perfect husband and the perfect future, had been shattered because of one stupid mistake. That of saying my address out loud in front of Lallan.
I went to the bathroom, started the shower and just stood under it crying, letting the water wash all over me, willing it to clean me of the dirtiness of the previous night.
The most cruel irony here was that the rational and professional side of me, the one who counseled women about the right thing to do, was very clear on what should happen next. I call Inspector Dubey, make a formal complaint that I was raped by Lallan. That pushes him from just an abusive husband on the run to a full on rapist. The police machine kicks into high gear to hunt him down. Given my personal warm relationship with cops, they would take the case very personally and hunt him down before the end of the day. I get therapy myself, come to terms with the trauma of what happened, move on.
Sounded very logical and straightforward. But then, for the first time, I found myself in the shoes of the very women I counseled. And I realized, it’s not always that easy.
Lallan had these dozens of pictures and videos of me. Even if he was arrested, or rather, especially if he was arrested, they would be forwarded far and wide. Everyone would see them. I didn’t know if I could live down the shame. And more importantly, I didn’t know if I would ever get taken seriously in the social work field ever again. Even if it wasn’t my fault.
I was in the shower for almost an hour. Finally I dried myself, went back to the bedroom, which was a mess. I could see a bunch of stains on the sheets. I put on a clean pair of panties and a bra. It almost felt strange to have fabric against my skin after being naked for so many hours at a stretch.
Just as I was pulling on some trousers and thinking about what to do next, my phone rang. The screen said “Inspector Dubey”.
“Hi Shikha, how are you doing?”
“Hi Anil.” I sounded as tired as I was. And the canny cop that he was, he heard it right away.
“Shikha…..are you okay?” he sounded concerned.
The words got stuck in my throat. No, Anil, I am not okay. I have just been raped all night by the very sadistic psychotic monster we talked about. Please catch him. But then those pictures and videos flashed in front of my eyes.
“Yeah….just a little tired and hungover. Had a late night celebrating the Stanford admit with some friends.” I said.
“Ah okay. Anyway….I am calling with some news about that Parvati-Lallan situation.” he said.
“I am afraid I have some bad news. I had a few cop friends in other states track down Lallan’s truck after our last conversation. Turns out he’s not on it. Looks like someone told him what happened and he is on the run.”
“Oh….that’s too bad.” I said, trying to sound genuinely surprised.
“We will keep an eye out for him of course. But you be careful, okay? You know how these guys can end up blaming social workers for what happened. Just watch your back, and if you see or feel anything suspicious, call me.”
Again, the rational part of me was crying out, tell him, TELL HIM!
“Thanks, Anil. Will do.”
“Anyway, at least we got the wife and girls out in time. So even if this guy is in the run, at least they are safe. You did great convincing her, Shikha.”
“Oh yeah, that’s the good thing.” I said. “Where did Parvati end up by the way?”
There was silence on the line for a couple of seconds.
“Shikha, you know I can’t tell you that.” he said in a solemn.
“Oh yes, of course. I understand. I was just thinking, if it isn’t too far, I might visit her before going to the US.”
“We can arrange for a video conference call if you like.”
“That would be great. But there is something much more warm about meeting in person, isn’t there?”
He was silent again for a while.
“Shikha, the reason you and I get along so well is we are both absolutely by-the-book people.”
“I know. I respect that about you.” I said.
“So you, more than anyone else, should realize that I can’t share that information with you.”
“True. Sorry I asked. I’m just…..hungover.” I said.
“Anyway, just be cautious. Look over your shoulder. I have already told the security guys at your office to be vigilant.”
“Alright, I gotta go. Bad guys to catch. Bye, Shikha.”
My body still hurting, I continued getting dressed for work. I stood in front of the mirror and looked at myself carefully. Lallan had been careful not to leave any bruises or scars on my face. None of his slaps had left any trace there. However, my shoulders, arms, stomach, ass, were all covered with blue-black bruises from his handiwork. I wore a full-sleeve kurta on top. Once I got dressed, I also put on make-up, which I rarely did. Mainly to disguise my tired and haggard face.
It still wasn’t enough to completely hide something from my colleagues. Almost everyone I met was saying some variant of,
“Shikha, are you feeling okay? You don’t look good.”
And I would respond with,
“I’m fine, just hungover from a late celebration.”
In my office, I just sat staring at my computer for an hour until getting started on my reports and paperwork. I was surrounded by professionals in an NGO dedicated to helping battered and abused women. I had been battered and abused all night. I could just walk into any office and talk about it. But I didn’t. I had other things on my mind.
Soon my phone rang again. I recognized the number and my heart sank. I had no choice but to answer.
“How’s that ass feeling?” Lallan’s arrogant voice seemed to blare in my ear.
“What do you want?”
“You know what I want.”
“Yes, I saw your message.” I said. And now, in the clear light of day, sober, I tried to reason with him. “Lallan, I really don’t have access to that information. The system is designed precisely to stop something like this from happening. To keep a wife’s location confidential so the abusive husband doesn’t track her and extract revenge.”
“Fuck you, cunt. I told you, I don’t want to extract revenge. I just want my wife and girls back.”
“But I’m telling you I don’t…..”
“I’m not going to debate you, memsaab. 3 PM. Or you become the latest porn sensation on whatsapp.”
And he hung up.
At noon, I was standing on the third floor of our building, just around my boss Mrs. Khanna’s office. She ran the whole show. I had a great rapport with her. I also knew her habits. Because of her diabetes, she always left for lunch at the exact same time. So predictable, you could set your watch by it. I waited for her as I mentally rehearsed the story I had come up with.
Sure enough, the door opened, and she walked out with her purse. I walked towards her.
“Oh hi Shikha, were you coming to see me? I’m going for lunch.”
“Yes, Mrs. Khanna. I need to print out some reports for the Walters Foundation grant, and my computer is just updating Windows.”
“I see. Why don’t you use one of the secretary’s computers?”
“I need senior level access for those files which the secretary’s computers don’t have. Do you mind pulling them up for me real quick?”
She looked at her watch and grimaced.
“I really need to eat something, Shikha.”
“Oh I am so sorry, I didn’t realize….”
“No no, it’s fine. Listen.” she looked around to make sure we were alone and whispered. “Just log in to my computer and print the reports. My password is newdelhi666, all lowercase.”
“Are you sure, Mrs. Khanna? I don’t want to invade your privacy.”
“Nah, I trust you, Shikha.” she smiled. And that stung my conscience a little. “Anyway, I need to go. Help yourself.”
I waited until she left and then went into her office. Logged in using her password. And then opened her email client, knowing that she was one person who would have access to the information about Parvati’s relocation. And she would certainly have had to exchange that information over email with the police and the relocation team. A few quick searches and I had what I needed. I wrote the information on the inside of my left hand, quickly deleted all search logs, closed the windows, and left the office.
Back in my office, I stared at the address for a long time. I was the one who had convinced Parvati to leave Lallan. And now I had to be the one sending him back to her. How could I live with myself after that? No, I couldn’t do this. I had to go to the cops, to my bosses, tell them everything.
But then I remembered Anup in sunny San Francisco. The acceptance email from Stanford. And the dozens of naked pics and videos of mine on whatsapp. Did I have a choice?
I sat and just stewed over this dilemma for a long time.
“You really cut it close, cunt.” Lallan answered the phone without as much as a hello. “It is 2:56 pm. Just a few more minutes and I would have forwarded it to everyone I know.”
“Well, yeah, whatever.”
“Okay, so tell me.”
“She is in Jaipur.”
“Jaipur? I thought you said Surat.”
“They changed plans at the last minute.” I lied. “She is in Jaipur.”
I was silent for a few seconds.
“Speak up, bitch!”
“Lallan, I need your absolute solemn promise and assurance that you are not going to be violent or abusive to her.” I said. “Don’t do that, please.”
“I already told you, I’m changed.” he said sounding sincere.
“Well, stick to that change please.”
“Shut the fuck up and tell me what I asked you, bitch.”
“Fine. Write it down.”
A couple of hours later, Mrs. Khanna came bustling into my office.
“Shikha….I am so confused.” she said agitated. “You’re resigning with immediate effect? Why???”
“Sorry, Mrs. Khanna. I know it’s not fair of me. But there is just so much to do and take care of before moving to America.”
“I know. We are preparing for you to leave. But with immediate effect?”
What could I say to her? That I cannot, in good conscience, continue doing my job after betraying one of its key tenets of confidentiality? That I lied and got access to her records to save myself?
“I am so sorry. But…..I need to go to Mumbai for some visa stuff right away anyway.”
“Shikha…..this is so sudden.”
“I know. I am very sorry.”
I was jumpy on my way home. I kept expecting Lallan to jump out from somewhere and force himself on me again. But he was probably on his way to Jaipur.
I got home and started cleaning the mess that Lallan had made last night. I threw out all the bed sheets and pillows that he had come in contact with. I threw out the glasses and plates he had used.
And then I started mopping the floor. With a cloth in my hand. At one spot in the corner, where there was a sticky splotch of what was clearly semen, I suddenly had a random flash back. To sometime in the middle of the night that I had blanked out on til now. Lallan was fucking my mouth in that corner, with me on my knees. And then he started cumming. And he told me to swallow. Which I did. But some cum dripped out the side of my lips. And dropped on the floor. That’s what I was looking at now.
I started scrubbing it. Hard. Somehow it seemed stickier than the others. I scrubbed and scrubbed. And then I just curled up there and cried again.
The next few days, I was displaying all the signs of what I myself recognized as post-traumatic rape syndrome. I had seen it from the other side, as a psychologist and therapist. Now I was living it. There was a perpetual sense of self-loathing for a variety of reasons. First was the hypocrisy of my staying silent and betraying Parvati after years and years of telling women to stand up to abusers. I knew the theory, I understood the logic, and I had sanctimoniously lectured lots of women to do the right thing.
And here I was, a privileged, connected, resourceful woman, who was better equipped than any of them to punish Lallan and hold him accountable, put him away for the rest of his life. And I was unable to go through with it. All under the threat of some naked pics being made public.
Another reason for self-loathing was succinctly summed up by one Lallan line that kept replaying in my head. When he had said in a very matter-of-fact way, “you came twice” after the first time he fucked me. It was true. All those dozens of pics and videos he sent me, I finally managed to make myself look at all of them. They told the story of the night in a sequential way that was difficult to ignore. That as the night progressed, I became a lot more willing participant in the activities, and by the end, there was no real threat or force being applied. I watched myself have orgasm after orgasm, in various rooms, in various positions, many times kissing Lallan passionately like a lover.
The mystery of why I ended up on the roof was solved in one particularly humiliating video.
It started to the sound of Lallan chuckling and the camera focused on my naked ass, with the flesh slowly jiggling. Then it zoomed out and I was visible crawling on all four up the stairs, having trouble getting the order of knees and hands right, very clearly drunk.
“Hahaha…..memsaab…..say it again what you said. About your fantasy.”
“Want…..fuck……roof.” I slurred.
A shiver ran through my body as I watched the video. I had never even come close to acting on this, but it was indeed a secret fantasy of mine for many years, to have sex on the roof. Over the years, Anup and I had taken a couple of calculated risks of outdoor sex, like on a deserted beach and once hiking in the empty wilderness. The peak of that would have been to have sex on our own roof. But obviously, it was such an idiotic risk, surrounded by neighbors who might hear or see and worse, videotape. So we had never taken that idiotic risk.
“Hahahaha….this rich slut told me she has the fantasy of being fucked on her own roof. It is about to get bright soon. And we have been fucking like animals all night. And yet she wants more. In the open.”
This commentary continued as I crawled up and up the stairs, negotiating the bend in the stairs with great difficulty, and finally reaching the door of the roof.
That video ended. The next one had the sex on the roof in progress, although it was mostly dark. The phone was in Lallan’s hand and you could make out from the moving outlines that I was on top of him and moving without any duress. And from the sounds I was making, clearly having a good time.
The PTSD manifested itself in other ways too. I was continuously paranoid, looking around, expecting Lallan or someone else to jump me at any moment. My heart was always racing. Every hour or so, I would measure my own heart rate and it was always about 40% above my resting heart rate. There was a continuous sense of fear and nervousness. It took a lot of effort to sound normal when talking with Anup over the phone or skype.
Anup didn’t suspect anything was too wrong, except in one regard. I used to often do a little flashing or stripping on screen for him as he sat half the planet away. The next few days, I kept refusing to do it, being fully covered, and giving flimsy excuses. Couldn’t tell him the truth, about all the bruises and hickeys, could I? Well, I could have, and he would have understood and flown back to take care of me. But I didn’t want to. I just wanted to forget all this as soon as possible and start the San Francisco chapter of my life.
Anup was peeved at my sudden and continuing refusal to exhibit myself to him, and we had an argument, which was rare for us. We were one of those couples which never fought, mainly because we were both very easy-going and accommodating by nature. But this time, he got upset and sulked for a couple of days, not calling me, just texting.