In Focus

'My mother abandoned us, ran away with my uncle'

"It was a night I wish I never lived to see. I woke up at midnight sensing something wrong and found myself alone with my two little siblings. Our mother had run away with her second husband abandoning her three children."

Reema, Sanjeev and I were three siblings, happy and naive, brought into Delhi by our mother to settle down in the big city with our maternal grandfather. Our father had just died and mother wanted to start life anew. I was the eldest of the three and had donned the role of a caretaker for my siblings for as long as I can remember, caring for them in whatever way possible.

My mother went on to marry my paternal uncle, had a property dispute with her father owing to which he ran away with a woman leaving behind the factory to be run by my mother. An irresponsible woman, she could not handle the business and soon enough ran away with her second husband, my paternal uncle, leaving behind her three children.

Our meagre but content lives soon became extremely vulnerable and I was left to fend for my little siblings. The next thing I remember is that a woman took us in. She provided us shelter but it was a place with the most morbid and inhuman conditions to live in that got even worse during the rains. She forced us to work as domestic help in the houses nearby. We were scared of the people inhabiting the area and there were just too many of them.

Within a few days I realised that the woman along with two accomplices was planning to sell all of us to make some fast money and I was the first on her list. As soon as my doubts were confirmed I decided to run away but my attempts failed.

With time running out of my hands, I had to take a drastic step. Unfortunately, my siblings were mesmerised with that woman and didn't believe me when I apprised them of her devious plans to sell us all just for her greed for money. I was left with no option but to save myself first so I ran away carrying a guilt for life that I left my siblings behind.

It has been almost ten years now and not a day goes by when I don't think about my brother and sister. I wish I could go back in time and made things different. I also know if I did not run that day I could have been trafficked and then there would have been no way to save Reema and Sanjeev ever.

Our lives would have never been so vulnerable had my mother not abandoned us. I can only say all mothers are not the same!

(The identity of the 'victim' has been concealed to protect her interest, other names in the piece too have been changed and the story made public to change populist perceptions of 'normal' relations often generalised as 'safe' when. for some. nothing could be farther from the truth. Without Prejudice)