The Saviour

All that glit­ters in the glit­tery world is not gold.

Alive - - Contents - by R.N. Sharma

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.

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