All that glitters in the glittery world is not gold.
That she had landed herself in a big trouble dawned on Himani within one week of her arrival in Mumbai. But the fact was she got herself trapped, perhaps innocently, by Harman, whose live-in companion she was forced to be, though very reluctantly. She was now desperate to come out of the mess she had found herself in.
Himani had met Harman in Delhi in the hotel where she was working as a front desk executive. She was on duty when he had checked-in. She was somewhat surprised when she heard him saying in whispers, “I see in you a perfect modelling material, lady.” She had taken it as a stray comment and ignored.
But when he repeated himself again in the afternoon while collecting some documents received in his name from the reception desk, she acknowledged this time with a broad smile. It seemed her long-cherished desire to see herself as a model, and possibly a TV or a cine-star, was going to be fulfiled.
He had introduced himself as the owner of an agency which supplied models to advertising agencies and event management companies. “I see in you a perfect model for launching an ad campaign for one of my clients,” he had told her. It was a god-sent opportunity she did not want to miss.
“Can’t I take up the modelling
Himani was surprised, but did get an inkling that the things were not going to be as easy as she had presumed. She had no option but to adjust herself in an apartment,
career while I continue with my present job?” she made a casual query.
“No lady; you will have to resign and shift to Mumbai if you want to make your mark in the modelling profession,” he had asserted.
Her parents were against her leaving a fairly well-paid job in a five-star hotel. They wanted her to think twice before embarking upon the modelling career and that too in Mumbai, a place unknown and unexplored by her. But she had succumbed to the sweet and tall talks of Harman and made up her mind to try her luck.
In Mumbai she lodged in a cramped and disorganised studio apartment already occupied by Harman.
“You will have to share this accommodation with me till you are through photo-shoots and auditions and selected for ad campaign or event,” she was told so by Harman.
“But you had promised me I would be accommodated in a separate apartment or with some other model, and also given some advance,” she reminded him. “I hope you will arrange separate accommodation for me in a day or two.”
“Have patience lady,” Harman said, somewhat curtly. “Things do not move the way you think.”
Himani was surprised, but did get an inkling that the things were not going to be as easy as she had presumed. She had no option but to adjust herself in an apartment, though putting up with a stranger would not be very comfortable.
To her utter shock, she learnt only on arrival in Mumbai that Harman was running a small modelling agency and operated from his apartment.
She was shell-shocked when he without any inhibition admitted that he indulged in drinking, smoking and was a drug supplier.
That Harman was not a man of repute, Himani had realised on the very first day she accompanied him to a studio for photo-shoot. She heard someone telling him that this time he had brought a very good ‘maal’. He had just smiled, and not protested.
After two days of shoot, Harman informed her that the client had not found her portraits ‘good enough’. “I think you need to expose yourself more… Maybe, you will have to wear more revealing outfits to get the desired effect. After all, the client is manufacturing under-garments, and not cosmetics,” he told her.
Himani was reluctant. “In the beginning of your career you can’t be choosy,” Harman was point-blank and rude. “Only established models can afford to throw tantrums.”
In the meantime, Himani called up her parents to inform she was fine and they should not worry about her, though she did hint her younger sister that all was not ‘fine’ with her.
Himani was asked to sleep on the sofa in the living room, but could not get sound sleep and told Harman that he must ensure she was shifted to some other place immediately. She always carried a fear that he might take liberties with her, and it came true when he tried to touch her inappropriately while she was sleeping. She had pushed him back and shouted, “Don’t dare to touch me, you bastard.”
He lifted his hand to slap her but she held it with force and again pushed him back, he almost hitting the floor.
He was furious, but looked helpless, as he found her in an aggressive mood.
Himani cursed herself for not listening to her parents’ sane advice and fell into Harman’s trap. She decided to go back to Delhi. She thanked her stars that on the advice of her boss in the hotel she had taken a
month’s leave and didn’t resign her job.
“Please settle my account and let me go back to Delhi,” she told Harman.
“Which account are you talking about?” he said and talked about the money he had spent on her shoots and even on meals. “As a matter fact you owe me money.”
She was shocked. It seemed he was trying to wriggle himself out of his commitments. But she was determined to escape from his clutches as early as possible. But before that she wanted to expose him and ensure punishment for cheating her. As he was keeping a constant tab on her, she wanted to proceed cautiously and in a subtle way.
Seeking police’s help could be an option available. But she hardly knew anybody in Mumbai, who could come to her rescue. She thought of Hema, an elderly maid, who worked part time at Harman’s place. Hema was too willing to help Himani.
“It seems like other girls you too have fallen into his trap. But unlike other girls who meekly surrendered to his whims and fancies, at least you have the guts to face him,” Hema told Himani.
How would Hema be able to help her, Himani was not sure. But she would act so fast, she had not imagined.
A day after Himani had told Hema about her plan to escape, the police, accompanied by some volunteers of an NGO, raided Harman’s apartment early in the morning and arrested him for confining and molesting Himani, and also running the drug business.
Himani helped the police in seizing the packets of hashish and cocaine concealed in the fake cameras supposed to be used for the shoots, and foreign currency in
Himani’s statement, Himani helped the police in seizing the packets of hashish and cocaine concealed in the fake cameras supposed to be used for the shoots.
the cushions in the living room.
The police recorded Himani’s statement and told her to appear in the court as and when required.
Himani thanked Hema for timely and prompt help. “You are my saviour,” she said and hugged her.
“But how did you do all this so quickly?” Himani was very keen to know. Hema had contacted the Madam, who was closely associated with the NGO which comes to the rescue of women who find themselves trapped by men like Harman, and whom Hema had known from the days when she was babysitting her daughter. Himani called up the Madam to thank her also.
Himani decided to fly back to
Delhi that very day. Her parents and sister were at the airport to receive her and gave her a very warm welcome.