An Unsafe Haven


It was a usual Friday evening. Jaydeep had just sat down with his family for dinner. His mother had made his favorite, biryani. While at college, Jaydeep had missed his mother’s food, especially her biryani. He craved home cooked food. Nothing could distract him from this. As he went at the biryani like a hungry tiger, his mother spoke,” so Jaydeep, guess who is coming to meet you tomorrow? Father Deepak.”

Jaydeep’s heart sank for a second. He thought he had misheard. “Ma, did you say Father Deepak?”

“Yes, he wanted to meet our little college boy”, replied his mother. “Ever since your father passed away, he has cared for you so much. He comes to visit me every week”.

Suddenly, the very much craved biriyani was pretty hard to swallow. The person he had managed to avoid contact with for the past 2 years was going to be in his house tomorrow. Jaydeep lost his hunger. He excused himself from the table and locked himself in his room for the rest of the night.

However, he couldn’t sleep. Whenever he tries to close his eyes all he could see was Father Deepak standing over him. He was not an especially large person, but Jaydeep remembers being overpowered by his aura. The thought itself gave Jaydeep cold sweats.

It was a particularly chilly night, yet his sheets were dripping with perspiration. The rest of his night was filled with terrorizing flashbacks and hyperventilation. Before he knew it, the sun had risen. Jaydeep sat up on his bed, staring at the wall in front. He might have stayed that way the whole day if his mother had not knocked at eight o’clock, “Jaydeep. Breakfast. ” Jaydeep wiped his face with his hands and got up.

Jaydeep and his sweaty pyjamas made their way downstairs for breakfast. As he walked down the stairs, he heard a very familiar laughter. It was not his mother’s. It was a laughter that filled him with dread. Once again his heart sank, and he started breath heavily.

Jaydeep hesitantly made his way down. As he turned towards the table, a very well groomed head with a big smile turned toward him. “Well, look here! Our little college boy”, said Father Deepak. Jaydeep clinched his fist behind his back but there was a smile on his face. The smile a hostage would give if he was forced to with a gun to his head.

“Hello Father Deepak”, Jaydeep replied uncomfortably.

“Come sit here”, Father Deepak said tapping on the seat next to him.

Jaydeep moved to sit down at a snail’s pace. He could smell pancakes but hunger was the last thing on his mind. As he sat, Jaydeep’s mother placed a plate of pancakes in front of him. She set a plate for the priest and herself as well, and sat down opposite Jaydeep.

More soon had Jaydeep taken his first bite than the father started, “so tell me Jaydeep, how is college in the big city?”

Slowly gulping, he replied “it’s good. Got to meet a bunch of new people, many from different countries.”

“Oh that is just wonderful. I still remember you singing at your church choir, the tiniest of them all”, said Father Deepak as he placed his hand on Jaydeep’s knee. Just as this happened, Jaydeep burst out of his seat, almost throwing the chair behind him. “Ma, I think I’ll go take a shower. Father it was nice meeting you again.”

Jaydeep stood under the cold shower, again staring at the wall in front of him. He had another flashback. Jaydeep was just a small boy, twelve years old, when he was at church with Father Deepak, alone. They were sitting at the first bench and father was telling Jaydeep about his troubles as a child and how he found safe heaven in the form of God. He told Jaydeep that he was always there for him. And as he said this, father Deepak’s hand, which was on his knee, slowly started to move towards his inner thigh. As he thought back to that day, Jaydeep felt unsafe. A twenty year old college student, felt unsafe in his own home too.

The shower was relatively long one. Jaydeep got changed. He went to the mirror to fix his hair, and when he saw his eyes. They were filled with tears. They were trickling drop by drop down his face. Then it hit him. There was no escaping it. Memories of Father Deepak would haunt him for the rest of his life. Unless Jaydeep decide to deal with it now, once and for all.

Teary eyed, Jaydeep marched downstairs. He could hear his mother and that wretched man in the living room. He walked up to the room. Before entering, he slowly shut his eyes and took a deep breath. He knew what he was going to do was difficult. But it had to be done. If not for him, for all those other children, father Deepak may have victimized. For all those children he could victimize in the years to come. Jaydeep once again clinched his fist, this time by his side. He burst into the room, by now his tears were dripping down his face.

“You did this to me!” Jaydeep yelled pointing at a very shocked Father Deepak.

Jaydeep’s mother even more shocked interjected,” Jaydeep! What are you talking about? Stop screaming at Father.”

With his face now completely wet, Jaydeep continued, “Ma, this man has ruined my life!” Now turning back to his original target,” You are a vile and disgusting man, I was just a child! I came to you for guidance. And what did you do? You took advantage of me, repeatedly!”

At this point Father Deepak sat stunned. He was at a loss for words. Even more stunned was Jaydeep’s mother. Her hand started to slowly tremble. With her voice filled with dread” Jaydeep, what do you mean by he took advantage of you?” She asked stammering.

Jaydeep wiped his tears away, “I have tried to hide from it for the past few years. But it was just making my life miserable. So today I am going to say it out loud. Ma, Father Deepak molested me.”

The secret was out in the open. Father Deepak’s heinous and vicious acts were exposed. Jaydeep knew this would not change of what had happened to him. But the lives of many young children were saved…

Edited  by Priyanka Sharma, Senior Editor, SOCM