Monday, 10 December 2018

Her possessiveness made my life obscure



THE OTHER SIDE OF CRIME- 6


Every coin has got two sides. 

The stories the convicted female prisoners told about the reasons and causes for committing the crimes, their experiences in prison, the lessons learnt, their hopes and expectations- form the crux of these articles.

I am sharing the stories they told me in first person. It is just their version of the crime, their side of the story. May be they are true, may be false. I leave it to the readers to decide. 

Happy reading!

Her possessiveness made my life obscure


I have not killed anyone. Nor have I caused any harm for anyone in my life so far. Still, I am undergoing life imprisonment as a murder convict in the jail since the last eight years.
I was a good and disciplined student, yet had to stop studies due to poverty at home. I got trained in an agency as a home nurse at a young age. After working at several places, through the same agency, I started working at an apartment in the city to take care of rich old woman who was staying alone. All her kids were settled abroad. My agent told me that her legs sustained injuries in an accident and I was needed to cater to her health. Since that place was quite far off from my house, I opted to stay at that apartment for six months to save the time and expenses of daily commutation. I was warned that this lady was short tempered and may throw tantrums for flimsy reasons. But I needed the salary which was almost double to what I was getting till then, so I accepted the offer.
That old lady did not have any noticeable health conditions and had no problems walking. A cook in the kitchen and driver to take her to places in her car were already employed with her when I joined. My work comprised of giving her oil massages to the body and head before bath, giving her timely medicines, applying liniment and balm on her knees and back, accompanying her to shopping trips and holding her arms whenever she commands. Another chore was reading loudly the Bible at dusk after lighting candles, which I happily complied. She told me that I have a good voice and diction. Though she lost her temper frequently with the driver and the cook, she was always kind and nice to me.
Within three months of my going there, the cook was dismissed after a big fight. The cooking and cleaning work of the apartment also fell on my shoulders in addition to nursing the lady which I took over without grumbling. Once in a few months, the children of the lady would visit her from abroad. They all liked me and gifted me with cloths and even money before leaving. Though my initial contract was to work with her for six months till she recovered from the accident injuries, I stayed on with her for almost a year. The only problem was she wanted me around her all the time and refused my umpteen requests to go home to visit my mother and siblings. However, I went home in between twice, once when a boy and his people came to see me with a wedding proposal and the other time when my mother got ill. Those times, when I go back to the apartment, the old lady would be angry with me for hours, would complain about everything loudly and even shout at me for no reason at all.
“I was so sick that I couldn’t get up from the bed and there was no one to help me. I spend such a lot of money to you; still you are of no use!”
“I did not eat or sleep for the last three days you were not here. Why didn’t you cook three day’s food and keep it in fridge for me? How could you starve an old lady like this?”
“A horrible woman sent by the agency came to clean the place after you left. She messed up everything and could not even read the Bible! Have you no thought for this poor sick woman? How could you abandon me?” She would yell.
I could sing well. She used to make me sing religious songs frequently. Some nights, my songs lulled her to sleep. She was missing that and my company. I would tolerate her temper and keep quiet and in a few days, she would be back to her normal loving self. The next time when another marriage proposal came, she did not allow me to go home. Seeing me moody, she consoled me. “I will find a good boy for you. One who knows driving. Then both of you can stay with me here. He will drive my car and you will be here always with me.” I came to realise that she was getting overly dependent on me. Her possessiveness and selfishness worried me at times, but I convinced myself that it was because she was old and feeling lonely. I learned to ignore her doldrums and continued to be nice to her.
One day, my mother fell seriously ill and had to be admitted in the hospital. I got a phone call from home saying that she wanted to see me. When I asked for permission from the lady, she said in a casual way, “Oh, there is no need to go. Send some money to her by money order. She will be alright.”
“No, madam, I should go. It is not money that she wants, it is me. She’s at the hospital. I am her only daughter; she needs me by my side.” I insisted. But she remained firm and did not let me go. She ignored my pleas and tears. The next day my brother called me again saying that my mother needed a surgery and I should go ASAP. Fearing that the house lady will not allow me if I asked her, I packed up my bag and tried to leave quietly without telling her while she was taking an afternoon siesta. As I reached the front door, she came behind my back, pulled me harshly by the hand and threw away the bag from my shoulder. Shocked, I turned to see the lady snarling like a wounded tiger.
“Oh ho, so you are leaving here in secret like a thief, eh? Without telling me? With whom are you going to elope? I will not allow you to go from here. Do you hear?” She looked like a demon then. I started to cry. “Please madam, my mother is very sick. I have to go. Let me go.” I went to get my bag which she kicked away from me.
“She need not see you. Your liar of a mother is pretending sickness to take you away from me, I know. It’s a drama. She is a jealous woman. I will not let you leave me; it’s me who is really sick and ailing. You can’t go.” She refused to listen to me and started shoving me around as if possessed. I got angry and afraid at her shocking behaviour. Her attitude made me decide the matter too.


“You can’t stop me, I am going. You can shout all you want, but my mother needs you and I want to go.” I shouted back at her and pushing her away, I got hold of my bag. As I turned, she hugged me from behind.
“No, no. If you go now, you won’t come back, I know. You have to be here, with me. I will not allow…”
I pushed her away from me with all my strength. I saw her falling down, but without wasting any time, I ran out of the apartment, tears streaming down my eyes. Without waiting for the lift, I ran down the stairs and out through the gate of the building. Then I started to breathe normally. I will never come back to this place, I vowed. Let her find another home nurse to possess to shower her selfish and insane love!
When I reached home after a long travel by bus, I stood frozen in shock. The housed was full of khaki clad cops. They were there to arrest me. For murdering the old lady! At the police station, a distraught and devastated I came to know that according to them I had apparently murdered the lady to steal her gold ornaments! ‘My God, how did that woman die? Poor thing!’ was the first thought that crossed my mind. Though I was confused and scared, I was hopeful that it was all a big mistake. I did not kill her. Neither have I taken her ornaments. They will find the truth later, they will let me go, I kept telling myself.
Within days, all my hopes got shattered. The police case was that a neighbour in that flat went inside seeing the open door and saw the old lady lying dead in a pool of blood. Since that lady always wore a lot of gold jewellery and at that time, her body was bare of ornaments, they expressed the doubt that it could be a murder for gain. The watchman of the flat had informed police that he saw me run out of the flat in a hurry. The driver also gave a statement to the police which was quite against me. But how did she die?
When I pushed her away, she fell back and hit her head against the sharp edge of the teapoy. Her head cracked and she started to bleed. She must have lost consciousness too. She died of severe blood loss. I tried to explain that I pushed her only to get away from her clutches and not intending to hurt her, but who would listen to me? Police could not find any ornaments from me. When her children came from abroad, they found all her jewels intact at her shelf. So theft was deleted from the charges and I was charged with just murder. The prosecution could not prove my motive during the trial, but neither the Judge nor the defense advocate seemed to care. I got convicted for life imprisonment.
My mother died due to cardiac arrest at the hospital. I did not give any appeal to reduce my sentence. I was not aware that there was a provision to appeal, no one told me and now I can’t, the time has lapsed. I do all the jobs entrusted on me at this jail sincerely. My brothers take me out on parole. During those days I spend the earnings I get from prison for charity. Why? Because I still feel a slight twinge of guilt that the old lady lost her life because of my push, though innocent it was.
People here love me. They love my singing too. On all the nights, when the cell lights are switched off, my lilting voice echo through these sordid and murky corridors. Songs of angst and pathos!


 


Thursday, 6 December 2018

In this hell on earth, I live.

THE OTHER SIDE OF CRIME- 5


In this hell on earth, I live.

Every coin has got two sides. 

The stories the convicted female prisoners told about the reasons and causes for committing the crimes, their experiences in prison, the lessons learnt, their hopes and expectations- form the crux of these articles.

I am sharing the stories they told me in first person. It is just their version of the crime, their side of the story. May be they are true, may be false. I leave it to the readers to decide. 

Happy reading!


I am the first woman in the state to be sentenced for death penalty. May be the last too, because I don’t think any other woman on earth is capable of doing the same type of cruelty that I did.
I have studied post graduation in history. As part of my studies, I visited a jail with my friends once during college days. Seeing those people inside the dark cells living with frozen minds, I remember feeling a mixed emotion of sympathy and sarcasm. I had a lot of friends, I was close to a lot of boys in my prime, but I never felt love towards any of them even in the height of youth. My parents were both government servants and reared me up in a strict manner, instructing from my childhood that physical closeness with the opposite sex is a big sin. I am the only girl among the four children my parents had.
Sadly my parents found a groom for me who was not at all a match for me. He was over twelve years older than me but very rich. My father thought I would have a good married life with him. I stood in utter shock at the sight of the man who came to ‘see’ me, his bulging tummy, receding hair line and grey tinged mustache! After the wedding, a further devastation was waiting for me. I found that this was his second marriage! From that moment onward I started hating my parents and brothers intensely. I decided to live my life the way I wanted, without heeding to anything or anybody.
My husband loved me a lot. He never hesitated to take me wherever I wanted to go, buy whatever I wished to possess. Big, palatial house, car and driver to take me everywhere, servants to do all my bidding… I had everything. So, I found satisfaction in all that. Within two years, I became the mother of a most beautiful baby girl. A few years passed off like that. My husband had several business concerns and traveled a lot. When my daughter started play school, I got quite bored sitting at home doing nothing. So one day I asked my hubby, “May I manage that textile shop in town? I have passed post graduation, I think I can do some work to help you. We can save the salary of the manager there too.” He did not like my request. “If you are bored, do something that you enjoy. Join some course, study something new like driving, dress making or something. Or join a club.” He suggested. The textile shop was not a fit place for the owner’s wife to work, he added.
After I kept on my stubborn request to allow me to work somewhere, he resented at last. He allowed me to manage the new pharmacy which was opened very near our house. “Just manage the accounts there. The rule is that only those who have the required pharmaceutical qualifications should be posted in medical shops. So don’t sell any medicines to anyone.” He advised. Every day in the morning, I would dress up beautifully in sari and jewellery and go to the pharmacy to work. I felt very happy. I enjoyed the respect that the sales boys showed me. I was happy to see some people and happier to use all those expensive dresses and trinkets I had. There was an army camp very near the shop, so a lot of good looking guys in uniform used to come to the shop for medicines. One among them was a well behaved guy who always smiled at me and called me madam. He was a nurse at the military hospital. I was ignorant enough to think that he was coming to my shop not just for medicines, since as a hospital staff in the armed forces; he had free access to every medicine within the camp itself!
Anyways, he used to buy plenty of medicines from the shop saying that they are needed for the military clinic. Slowly our friendship developed into love. I knew I was falling into a desperate emotional bondage. But I did not care about the consequences much. I just wanted to be happy in the new feeling of love for a man which I never felt before. I was aware that there are plenty of traps set by men to snare hapless women. But love, when it enslaves you, is truly blind. I found only good qualities in that boy. I fell head down into the warm whirlpool of love and immensely enjoyed bathing in its swirls of waves. My lover was married and had two children, but that did not bother me. All my common sense had been swept away by the tides of that vast ocean called passion.
We tried to keep our affair a secret. This is not serious stuff, it is just for fun, I convinced myself.  We vowed not to create any problems in our family. But as we met more often, things became more intense. There came a stage when he could not stay away from me nor I from him. “Let us get rid of our spouses. Let us get married and live together as husband and wife. Without fearing any one. You get divorce from that old man.” He started to tell me frequently. I knew that I could not divorce my husband or stay away from my daughter. Or any of the comforts that I was so used to. My lover is just a male nurse. He will not be able to afford all these luxuries. I will not be able to stay at a military quarters with him. And he was younger than me. I loved him, needed him physically. But I wasn’t willing to marry him.
Once I firmly expressed my reluctance to divorce, he started to play a different tune. “If he dies due to some illness, will you marry me?” He asked.
“What illness? He is quite healthy.” I replied. I convinced myself that as time went by, I would lose interest in this lover of mine.
“There are medicines for that, you know? Medicines can cure a person of illness, similarly cause illness too.” He whispered.
“No, no. Don’t say such things.” I got scared.
We fought and he stayed away from me for a few days. In the beginning, it was okay for me, I managed the separation. I thought he would come back to me. But as a week went by without him contacting me, I panicked. I suffered acute depression. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I had no peace. My chest hurt a lot. I was at the end of my wits. I decided to see him again. I have only one life. I need him in this life, I thought.
“Do whatever you want. I need you in my life.” I told him that night.
He gave me a tablet to put in my husband’s bed time milk. That night I opened the front door of the house for him.
“He is just sleeping now. If this has to look like a cardiac death, I need to give him an injection.” He said as he pulled out a filled up syringe from his pocket. But the moment the needle entered into my husband’s vein, he woke up. There ensued a fight as I slipped out of the room and closed the door. After sometime, my lover called me inside. I stood aghast. My husband lay dead on the bed, but he had plenty of injuries on his face and body. No one would now believe it to be a natural death!
I started to panic. “Don’t worry, I will handle this. Get me a sharp knife, some cloths and a big sack.” He instructed.
What happened next was something that curdled my blood. I saw him lay down my husband’s body in a tarpaulin sheet in the bathroom and cut him to pieces. He then packed up his parts in plastic sacks. As he was slamming the severed head into an already stuffed sack, we heard a noise at the bathroom door. To my dismay, I saw my five year old daughter who was sleeping in the adjacent room at the bathroom door, watching everything!

I gathered her in my blood stained arms, but she ran off from me. That moment I knew that things will be turning against me. My lover left the house with the sacks containing my husband’s sliced up body and I was left to clean the house. As I cleaned up the bathroom and the knives, I felt deep hatred and fear for that nurse well up within me.
In the police inquiry, I told them everything. My daughter gave correct statement to the police. I felt proud of her, she is such a sweet little girl! I was convicted with death after trail in the court. I know I totally deserve to be hanged at the gallows; I had committed an unspeakable crime. But my brothers filed an appeal in the high court which reduced my sentence to life imprisonment taking sympathy in the fact that I am a woman and I only abetted the murder. That murderer who was once my lover, he did not get any relief from his death sentence even at the apex court. It has been twelve years now in this jail. I get out on paroles. My daughter takes me to that old big house whenever I get paroles. She is now attending entrance coaching classes. She wants to become a doctor.
I have a plea for my fellow sisters in the society. Please do not allow any crimes such as these to be committed in the name of love. Whatever be the punishment that the law gives you, a fire which cannot be doused by anything will keep burning within you. You will be condemned to the fires of hell within yourself forever and ever.

Friday, 23 November 2018

The Other Side of Crime- 4


My daughter said, ‘You are mad!’


Every coin has got two sides. 

The stories the convicted female prisoners told about the reasons and causes for committing the crimes, their experiences in prison, the lessons learnt, their hopes and expectations- form the crux of these articles.

I am sharing the stories they told me in first person. It is just their version of the crime, their side of the story. May be they are true, may be false. I leave it to the readers to decide. 

Happy reading!




It has been eleven years since I have been incarcerated within these dark cells. I am just 54 years old, but I look like a seventy year old woman. Everyone calls me the mad grandma here. But the first person who ever called me mad was my daughter. My own little angel!

“You are mad woman, do you know that? A horrible, crazy old woman, you hag! Why don’t you just go and die?!” She shouted and growled at the same time while trying to attack me. Did it happen yesterday or ten years back?

I was good at my studies as a kid. My childhood ambition was to become a school teacher. I was the eldest of the six children in my family, still my parents allowed me to study as much as I wanted. While I was doing final year bachelor’s studies, my marriage got fixed by the family. They told me that he is a good boy from an excellent family and that he would allow me to continue studies even after marriage. Though I was unwilling to marry the guy who came to see me, I was forced into the alliance for the sake of my younger siblings.

My husband was addicted to liquor and narcotic drugs. He would not physically hurt me, but once under the influence of liquor, he would shout awful abuses loudly and continuously at me at which I used to shudder and shiver in abject shame. He would do the same to others too. The neighbours and people around hated us because of his behaviour. Sometimes I felt that it would have been better if he physically assaulted rather than harass with these loud verbal attacks which went to intolerable limits at times. But once he becomes normal, he loved me unconditionally.

Because of his character both our families alienated us. He got frequent suspensions and disciplinary actions in his job too. My friends advised me that his character will change once we get a child. There was no problem for me in conceiving, but four times there were some problems and I had to suffer abortions. After a lot of prayers and taking adequate care, I ultimately got this daughter. She was like me, mild, good looking and intelligent. She was smart at studies in school too.  After her birth I found a new purpose in life. I was living for her, my joys and pleasures were all for her. She used to say that she would become a doctor and treat those people like her father.

My husband continued in the same way as before. No, actually, it became worse as time passed by. There were days that he was totally under the influence of alcohol and drugs. I was shocked to see him consume all sorts of things together and smoke cannabis on top of that. I tried to get him treated several times, but without his consent, treatment was impossible.

When my daughter was thirteen, one night we came to know that my husband died, suffocating on his own vomit, on the side of the public road. I hugged my daughter and cried, not out of despair for becoming a widow, but because my daughter has become father less. Actually, I was relieved that he died, after all, I would now get a respite from all those traumas, was the main thought that invaded me on getting the news.  

After he passed, both our family members came forward to support us. With their help, we lived peacefully. My daughter passed tenth standard with distinction and I admitted her for entrance tuition also along with her plus two classes, to prepare her to get admission for MBBS course. While she was in twelfth, one day, she did not return home as usual from her tuition class even after the due time. I went around enquiring in panic. I could not sleep or have a moment of peace that night. The next day, I came to know from the police station where I went to give a complaint that my daughter eloped with a man at least ten years older than her! The man is a notorious criminal, an illegal bootlegger and accused in several cases. My God!

My own little princess! My treasure! How could she do this? She was trapped, I felt sure. Poor girl got kidnapped by him, I was sure. But the police ignored my complaints. “They came here yesterday evening, showed us all the details and documents. They got married at sub registrar’s office a month back.” The officer informed me.

“But that is impossible. She was just seventeen. How could the sub registrar legalize marriage of a minor girl?” I queried.  

“She showed us proof that she was above 18.” He dismissed me with a wave of his hand.

I went home to search out her SSLC (high school certification) book. The date of birth entered there would prove she was a minor. To my shock, I found that not just that, but most of her possessions were missing. She had prepared for her elopement carefully. She loved him? But…? I got so devastated that it felt as if all the Gods have cheated me. I was not willing to give up my daughter to a goon so easily. I went around with complaints to every office. I even filed a court case. I spent all my savings to just see her one more time just to know if she really wanted that sort of life. Even in my deepest throng of depression and tormenting torrents of tears on those days, my mind did not slip away from me. I did not become mad. But still I could not see my daughter.

It was only after three years that she came back to the town with her husband. She was full term pregnant then. I could not be angry at her. She is the only one left for me. I ran to see her. I took care of her. I was at the hospital when she delivered a healthy boy. I took care of the child also for the three days she was in hospital. I felt as if I got back my daughter in my life. However she preferred to go to her husband’s house with the baby on discharge from hospital. I had to reluctantly agree though it surprised me how she could be so devoted to such a devilish fellow.

On the day of the naming ceremony of the baby, I went with plenty of gifts for the baby, including a gold hip chain. It is the prerogative of grandmothers to tie the gold chain on the hip of the child. The function and the lunch went well. I was planning to return back in the evening. I lied down a bit in a side room for an afternoon siesta after the festivities ended. I woke up with a start hearing loud noises and shouts outside. When I hurried to check what the commotion was about, I found that the baby was missing! He was sleeping in the crib by my daughter and she woke up to find the crib empty. They were searching everywhere for the child.

As I stood praying for the safety of the baby, I saw a man climb up the well in the compound with the body of the very dead baby. 


I stood paralyzed at the horrible sight. Good God, which horrid person did that? I went near my screaming daughter and tried to console her. “My child…” I put my arms around her. She hit at my arms, turned to me like a furious cheetah and roared, “What did my baby do to you, you horrible woman? You must be angry towards me, you must be despising me, but why did you kill my innocent baby for that? How could you do this to me?” I got an electric shock go through my skull at these words. What? She thinks it was me who threw her child into the well? But I was nowhere near the baby or the well the whole afternoon. If I wanted to kill the baby, I should have done it the day he was born. When I held him for the first time. Wasn’t it to my arms that the nurse gave him straight from the labour room? Or any of those days in the hospital when he was totally with me all the time. How could my daughter even think that I had a hand in this? But she continued to shout at me.

“You are raving mad! You abused me a lot as a child. It was because of your mental problems that I had to run away from home. In your madness, you murdered my child!” Aghast, I shook my head trying to tell her that I loved her, she spat at me. “You are mad woman, do you know that? A horrible, crazy old woman, you hag! Why don’t you just go and die?”

Police case, statements, investigations, trial and everything else went on as if in a dream. The case was that since the child looked like its father I hated it the same way as I hated my daughter’s husband. I had fights with my daughter and her husband and referred to the child as Satan, my daughter’s statement said! I was punished with life term imprisonment for murdering a child. When my daughter turned my worst enemy I was left speechless. I lost all hope in my life. Am I really mad, I wondered? Have I ever abused my daughter? I could not remember even scolding her once in my life. I still fail to understand what I did for my daughter to hate me so. She has not come to see me in prison or when I go out on paroles.

My siblings and my husband’s family members are nice to me. They take me out on paroles and love me a lot. My daughter has two kids now. I would love to see them and caress them in my arms. But if I go to see them, they may get scared and shout, “Look, here comes the mad grandma!” I shouldn’t make the poor kids scared…