They say celebrations become even more special when happy events of your life coincide.
It’s true, we as family had three reasons to celebrate. My mother’s 46th birthday, her 25 years of successful career, and I finished my board exams.
So, my dad and I have arranged small surprise party, where we invited some close relatives, her boss, few colleagues, and some of our close friends.
When she came, and switched on the lights. We yelled, “surprise”, but she screamed, as if she was startled. Sumi Maasi (Aunt), pulled her closer and embraced her saying, “this is the kind of reaction you would get when you are surprised at the age of 46” everybody rejoiced, including my father. But I noticed something, Sumi Maasi told my mom, “relax, it just us your friends and family”, and the tears were definitely not of the happy kind. Sumi Maasi took her went to change. In the next two minutes’ mum’s Boss arrived. My dad went to greet him and asked me to check on my mum. When I reached passage, and close to my mom’s bedroom, my Maasi was sitting beside my mother, who was crying bitterly.
Did she not like the surprise? I was confused whether I should go in, or back to the party? Amid all the confusion I choose to stand behind the bedroom door to listen to their conversation. What I heard next made me angry, I wanted to yell at top of my voice, and break everything around me.
How could you? What made you do this? I f###king hate you.
Mum: Sumi, I can’t take this anymore. He is literally torturing me. I am not a weak person but I am losing my patience with him.
Sumi Maasi: Did he again, what did he do? Didi aap yeh job chod do, koi aur job karlo. Aap itni educated hai aur aapke paas experience bhi hai (Sister, why don’t you leave this job, you have the knowledge and experience.) I am sure you can find any other job.
Mum: But, Sumi, at this age do you think I deserve job hunting. It’s my job, one of the reasons for this celebration today? Before he came… I was so happy at this job. But these past five years have been nothing less than visiting hell every single day… Every day he finds new ways to trouble me. He grabs any opportunity to touch me, he always ensures that I am the only who stays back for late hours. I always make an excuse of husband and daughter.
Some fresh tears poured…
Mum: From day one,
- He keeps staring at either my arse or chest like I am his prey, and he is ready to slay me. I am always treated like I am his pet project. Be it cafeteria, meeting room, game room he follows me everywhere.
- During any meeting, he would purposely sit beside me, if anyone else sits next to him, he asks them to empty the seat for me. On so many instances he has kept his hands on my thighs under the table, and move myself aside.
- I am married, and he still had the guts to ask me, what keeps me glued to my average looking husband. If I gave him a chance he could make me happier than my husband.
- He sends vulgar messages anytime of the day and even late in the night. Your Jijaji (brother-in-law) constantly complains that my phone beeps during night. Since then I keep my phone on mute.
- One day in office parking lot, he was loudly talking to someone about me, discussing my assets “…for a woman in her early 40’s, she has got perky bust, and bottom”.
- He stalks me on social media as well, Facebook, WhatsApp etc. he uses either or emotion for all my posts…. even for the sad and upsetting posts. On one occasion, he posted that he was waiting for my call all night on my wall with a winking smiley. I deleted only after you told me about it. What if my daughter or husband would have seen it. It would have been so embarrassing.
- To my surprise, I was given an astonishing 30 percent hike during my last appraisal. Although everyone knows that I worked very hard for 3 company projects. He spread the word in office that I was awarded this hike, because of him only.
- For the past five years, he has tried taking me out for lunch with excuses like client meet, shopping for his wife or mother. Trust me, I have avoided, and stalled with most pathetic excuses. I have purposely told him that my daughter has some rehearsal for dance, her karate tournament, husband’s illness, and others.
Sumi Maasi: Didi I know of this, but Aaj kya hua? What happened today? Please tell me your guests are waiting outside for you.
Mum: Today he, put his ugly hands on my shoulder from behind, and flinched when he put a shitty expensive necklace around my neck singing happy birthday…. (some more tears), in everyone’s presence. Then, while I was cutting my birthday cake, he had another excuse to touch me – he wiped cake’s icing on my face. That’s not all, when I was tiding up to leave for the day, he told me that he would have taken me to a fancy place for dinner and drinks if my husband would not have invited him at my house for my surprise party.
Another round of tears…
Mum: Sumi, I kept the necklace back in the office …and I seriously thought that the surprise party was another cruel joke of his. But…
I could not hear anymore, I came back to the party trying to process the fact that my own mother has been victim of Sexual Harassment for the past five years. Five years…and never has she complaint to anyone. I see my father having a drink with him. Ironically, discussing work ethics.
I stood next to them, thinking…Why does he treat her like a personal asset? What prompts him to sexually harass my mother…is it her Wheatish skin or his education…
Maasi and Mum resumed the party. And my mother…WOW, she is a vision…. To be continued…….