Monday, 12 November 2018

The Other Side of Crime- 3

The Other Side of Crime- 3

I had to remove that horrible stain! 


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!


After obtaining my nursing degree, I worked for over three years in a reputed hospital earning a respectable salary. However, I stopped working after marriage like a good wife, like my husband wished. He was an officer in the Indian Army. We have two kids, the elder being a girl. I also wanted to work alongside my husband as a military nurse and requested him several times to get me an employment in his corps, but he insisted that I stay back at our family house to take care of his aged father and later our children. His father was sick ever since our marriage and I had to double up as a home nurse and a daughter in law to him. Prior to him getting fully bed ridden, I was to the military camps with my husband to various exotic locations in India which I tremendously enjoyed. After I delivered our daughter, this was stopped and I became a full time house wife. But I never complained.
I was born in a poor family and have tasted the bitterness of poverty while growing up. Because I was somewhat good looking, my husband was willing to marry me without any dowry. He also met most of the expenses of marriage. He is a goodhearted soul who loved me unconditionally. Even after two deliveries he called me ‘his beautiful girl’. He sent a major portion of his salary to me every month and never ever asked how I spent it. In addition, there was revenue from agricultural products at his family property too. I had no shortage of anything. There was enough food, clothing and entertainment. Cash was also not an issue at all. However, the only lack I felt was of transportation. There was an old car at home which gets out of the shed only when my husband came on leave. I found it difficult to resort to public transportation for urgent needs like taking the kids for tuition or to the park or the old father in law to the hospital. Taxis were too expensive for going out for shopping or for buying medicines. When I started to complain about this over phone, he arranged a distant relative to come and stay near us to help us with these things.
This guy was a young man who completed his post graduation and could not get a job till then. He knew driving and was extremely well behaved and obliging to all of us. He was occupying a room on rent at a nearby bachelor’s quarters. He turned out to be a big blessing for me. He used to come as soon as summoned even in the dead of night and started to take care of everything. I happily sent him for shopping and to hospitals also. This boy had a pleasant demeanor and attractive manners. Very soon, he endeared himself not just to me and to my husband’s old father, but also to my children. I started to consider him as my little brother and gave him all freedom in the house.
As time went by, he started to show this freedom on me and my body too. While talking, he would touch me, put his hand on my shoulder and even hug me when he came home after weekends. At first I let him do it, thinking that he was showing brotherly affection to me. But even when I knew within the deep recess of my heart that those gestures were getting far from brotherly, I did not make any attempt to stop him. I suppose I enjoyed it and sometimes even craved for it. On one occasion when he gave me the kit carrying provisions, he caressed the entire length of my hand in a loving and gentle way. Instead of feeling irritated and angry at him, I found this highly arousing and sexy. It felt as if a mild electric current passed through my body when he did that. Things changed after that touch.
It is said that people are slaves of their circumstances. The absence of my husband at home and the interest that this boy showered on me triggered hidden passions in my heart which led to an extra marital affair between us. We started to have a secret communion which lasted for three years. One day my husband’s father expired and he came home for a month for the funeral. While leaving back to the military base, I heard him tell his relative boy to be always there for me. Poor man, I felt a deep pity for his trust in me, but by that time, things were at a point of no return. We continued our relationship.
One day he told me that his parents are forcing him to marry a girl they found. I encouraged him to marry her thinking that it will be good in every sense. Even after marrying and bringing his wife also to the rented accommodation nearby, we continued our relationship. His marriage was like a protective shield for me. I thought that now nobody will suspect that we were having illicit relationship.
On one Sunday when I came back from the Church, I saw something which wrung my heart. My thirteen year old daughter was giving him tea. While taking the tea cup, he caressed the hand of my daughter, the same way like he did to me years back. To my utter shock, I saw my daughter shivering in pleasure at that touch, her innocent expression turning into a hungry one! He was smirking at her. 
 
I lost control of myself. I snatched the tea cup from him and threw it to the floor, crashing it to smithereens. I slapped my puzzled daughter and shouted at her never to even see that guy. I screamed at him, “Get out of this house, you bastard. I don’t want to see you again. Ever!” I expected him to cringe and obey me. Instead, he too became violent. He shouted back at me, “Shut up, you bitch! I will come here, do whatever I want here too. Don’t even try to stop me or else I will reveal everything to your husband and everyone else too. Remember, I have your text messages and pictures in my phone!” He threatened me.
Jesus! I started to cry. I saw my world crash around me like the tea cup I threw on the floor. Long after he left, I went inside to console my daughter. I have never slapped her before. Although I tried to explain my pain and apologized to her, she refused to listen to me. I never expected him to behave like this to my daughter. She calls him uncle, how could an uncle figure do this to a child? Is he that bad? Why didn’t I see this horrible side of him so far? He will do it again. My daughter will allow it too. But I will not allow it, I decided that night. I have to find ways to stop it.
The next day, I went to his place and apologized to him. I asked him to come home like before and that I will not be able to manage anything without him. I pretended to be sorry and was happy to see him fall prey to the trap. Back home, I took out my old nursing text books from the dusty box and started to study them again. I was searching for the foolproof method to kill a man without anyone suspecting any foul play. Then I procured cyanide and mixed the required quantity in the lime juice which I made by adding more than enough sugar to mask its metallic taste. Then I called him over phone to my house for some chores and offered the lime juice after everything was done. I expected him to drink it and leave the house for his room. I calculated that the drug will start affecting only within thirty minutes. But more precise calculations are made in heaven, I suppose. As soon as he consumed the juice, he fell down on the kitchen floor, started to vomit and was in the throbs of death. I panicked. I couldn’t do anything except shout and scream.
“Help, help! Somebody please help, my relative is sick, he needs to be taken to the hospital.” I cried loudly going to the gate of our house. The neighbors came immediately, the ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital. But he died in the ambulance itself. I cleaned up the vomit in the kitchen, washed the glass in which poisoned lime juice was given and burnt the packet of remaining cyanide immediately to destroy evidence. Still, the police arrested me during the investigation of the case because autopsy revealed the presence of cyanide in his stomach. “It must be suicide. He had plenty of problems. He didn’t eat or drink anything from here. He must have consumed it before coming here”, I tried to defend myself to police.
“His wife gave us a statement that he was having illicit relationship with you. She said you called him on that day and he went from home over an hour before his death. Cyanide poisoning is fast. We also traced out the shop from which you got the poison. The case is strong.” The investigating officer informed me. “We also know your motive. Your daughter told us that there was a fight between you last Sunday when he threatened to reveal your affair to your husband. You finished him off to silence him.” I froze. I could not believe that my own child would speak against me. I felt the noose tightening. At the court during trial also, I repeated the plea that I was innocent and it was a suicide. “He was angry at me. He wanted me to suffer, so he must have consumed cyanide while in my house to punish me.” I pleaded. “Then why did you go and buy cyanide from the chemists?” The judge asked and sentenced me to life imprisonment for murder.
My husband resigned from the military and now is home with my children. He hates me and refuses to see or talk to me. I go out on paroles, but during that time, I stay with my parents. Even now I don’t feel that I did a crime. That man was a horrid stain in the society. I just wiped off that stain. That was all.

Friday, 9 November 2018

The Other Side of Crime- 2

 The Other Side of Crime- 2

My heaven collapsed so fast!


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!

 

How wonderful was my family life! Such a loving and caring husband, two intelligent and smart daughters! My husband was a businessman and I lived like a queen in a palace like house with cars, servants, drivers and gardeners to do all my bidding. My children were studying at the best school in town and both were toppers in class. It was all of a sudden that things turned topsy-turvey for me.

My husband died in a car crash. It was a sudden cataclysmic shock for me. I think I too died in my mind for a few days. Time and days passed by where I lived in an unconscious stupor at a house filled with relatives and friends. Slowly as reality sank in me, I assumed that these people at my house will console and help me to live on. On some black moments I too wished to die and join my husband in heaven, but the faces of my daughters pulled me back from that wish. After the funeral when people started to leave us, I was faced with another huge shock. Troubles come in heaps, it is said. I came to know that the business empire, our properties, vehicles and every material thing we possessed were pledged to some financial institution or bank. My husband’s life was a big lie- he was living in luxury on borrowed funds. We started losing everything one by one. Those people who crowded around us just disappeared when they too got wind of the news of our huge debts. Who would be so giant-hearted to take care of a penniless widow and her two daughters?

On top of all this, some men who looked like hired gangsters started frequenting our house with demands of repayment of loans that my husband owed them. “He has to give us Rs five lakhs. When are you going to give it?” “Give us the ten lakhs immediately or face eviction.” “This car is actually ours. We are taking it.”

I was just eighteen when I got married. My education stopped after twelfth standard. I have no idea of the business my husband was doing. I knew no accounts or complicated maths. Still I went through all the documents, records and bank statements carefully to find out what went wrong. Those goons were correct. We are neck deep in debt. Everything is pledged. Then that nagging doubt reared its head. Was it really an accident? Or did he commit suicide out of despair? What will I do now? Why did he leave us in such a mess? Should I tell this to police? No, if police finds it to be suicide then we will not even get the motor accident claim due to us! I knew that the car which was driven by my husband got hit by a truck on the highway. That truck could not be traced so far, but there were witnesses who saw the incident. I buried my doubts and decided to believe that it was an accident.

I was totally confused about our future path. I got some money from my brother and the old mother. I sold all our gold ornaments, silverware and brass articles. Still, the amount was not enough to pay back all the debts. The house was already pledged, so it could not be sold. A small respite ensued; still I worried every day and night about the future of my daughters. I could transfer them to a Government school to avoid the heavy monthly fees, I could take a rented accommodation, I could beg the people I know for loaning money, but none of these provided a permanent solution. Yes, I could take a job.

I started hunting for a job. For someone with just plus two as education, the jobs I could get were that of a hotel receptionist, sales girl or phone attendant. The monthly income from such jobs will not even sufficient to buy grains. I tried my luck with my relatives who all spurned me. “We have given you enough. There is no more that can be spared.” They were at least frank towards me. Only my bed ridden mother sympathized with me and gave me money willingly. After a few months, I could not find anything of value at home which could assuage the hunger pangs of our tummies. That was when I decided to go to my husband’s friend and long time partner in business. He owns a few hotels in town. I expected him to help us. I have heard of his good and humane character also. He gave me an appointment promptly, but when I told him of my problems, his demeanor changed. “What can I do to help? My business is suffering because of recession. I also have a lot of loans. Besides, I do not have any vacancies that fit you at present. You have lived a good life, how can I give you small jobs such as cleaning?” He shrugged me off. I was at a breaking point by then. So, I started to cry shamelessly in front of him.

“Sir, I will take any job, cleaning, sweeping, kitchen work or cooking. If you do not have a servant at home, I can work as one too. I will do any work, I’m that desperate.” I clarified.

“Anything, eh?” He scratched his chin and stared vacantly at me as if in deep thought. A lightning of fear passed through me. Still I replied firmly. “Yes sir. Anything except selling my body.”

“Do you have passport?” That was his next question. I answered in the affirmative.

“Then I will give you a job. But it is in Dubai. You should go there next week. My men will give you the instructions. Just leave your phone number and pack up your bags.” He said.

I was so relieved that I almost touched his feet in gratitude. Dubai! That means I will get a good salary. My children can continue to study in their public school. We need not shift from our house. I will ask someone to stay at my place to take care of the kids. I was on cloud nine with joy at the prospect. A week later a car and driver came to drop me at the airport. The driver gave me the ticket and visa as well as a big packet. “Please keep these in your bag. They are pickles. Since carry bags do not allow eatables, you have to put them in the check in bags. Someone will collect it from you in Dubai.” He said. He also gave me the phone number and details of the person who would pick me up from Dubai airport.

When I reached Dubai, a man was waiting to pick me up. When he dropped me at the small one bedroom apartment, he took the pickle bottles from me and said he would call me soon with further instructions. The apartment was well furnished and the kitchen was fully stocked. A Philippine lady came to clean up and cook food for me. I was comfortable in every way, except that there was no work for me to do. I waited for the promised call for two days and not getting it, called all the phone numbers I knew. No one picked up my calls. That apartment had no phone and my cell phone had no facility to make international calls. Thankfully, I had a few dinars with me, so I made a call from a call booth outside to the hotel owner who sent me there.

“Sorry, the job I arranged for you didn’t come through. It is better that you get back until I fix up another job for you there. Don’t worry; I will pay you a month’s salary in advance.” I was puzzled, still I agreed and waited for the man to take me back to airport. I came back to my house much to the delight of my kids and the hotel owner gave me fifty thousand rupees as advance salary. Within a fortnight, he sent me again the tickets saying that it is time for me to go there. The same driver came and handed me the packet of pickle bottles to place in my check in bag. I instantly got suspicious and refused. I opened and checked up the bottles, there were three huge bottles which were sealed. From outside they did look like pickles, but I was reluctant to carry it with me. Then the hotel owner called me over phone.

“Hey, don’t worry. You are right, there is heroin hidden inside the pickles. But you will not be caught. Women are respected a lot in Arab countries, they will not be suspicious of you. Also, there are no equipment to detect heroin in check in bags and sniffer dogs will get only smell of pickles. And I will give you one lakh rupees for each trip. Don’t you want to repay all your loans?” He consoled me. I believed him. Thus knowingly, I became an international carrier of heroin. For a few years it went on without any problems. On one trip, I got detained by Customs who opened my bag and checked the bottles.  I didn’t know that they monitor bags of frequent travelers to a single destination. They got suspicious of the bottles I took each time, which the X-Rays screened. 

I was arrested and sent to prison. After trial, the court convicted me for ten years of imprisonment. I am in jail for six years now. I have filed an appeal in the high court which is taking a long time to decide. Both the customs officials and the police asked me repeatedly about the source from where I got the drugs. I refused to reveal the name of the hotel owner. I will never reveal his identity. Because, he is taking care of my daughters now. He is paying the fees of my advocate. And he promised to give me a respectable job once out of the prison cell.  I go on paroles every six months. My eldest daughter is a law student now. Now I am living for them. They should not suffer because of my misdeeds. They should get to high places, get married to good boys and live happily. They have suffered enough already.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The Other Side of Crime- 1



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!

 

The Other Side of Crime- 1



“I didn’t do any crime, please believe me”


I swear I haven’t done any crime. My advocate assured me that I will be acquitted by the court. I stood waiting at the accused box inside the court, the ever shining beam of optimism weakly trying to push out the darkness of apprehension within my heart. The judge refused to look at me as read out the verdict.
“Since the crimes committed by the accused are proven beyond reasonable doubt, I convict her of double term life imprisonment.”
I stood frozen as if the earth caved from underneath my feet. The gloom which triumphed in my heart rose to my eyes in victorious waves as I crumpled down on the floor. No, no! I did not do it… I am totally innocent, totally... I was wailing, pleading, but no voice came out.

I was a simple little girl who loved flowers and butterflies. I enjoyed the small joys in life as a child. Though born in a poor family, I knew I was beautiful. Fair and cute with an angelic face, they all said. No one told me that I should study well in school or get an employment in future or even become economically stable. I was taught the little chores that every housewife should know. Cooking, cleaning, sewing, dancing and singing… the last two, probably to please the future husband! Somehow I studied till the tenth class without failing after which my school life stood still. I was still a child even when I became the wife of a Gulf employed man. At those times, it was indeed considered fortunate in my place to marry a man working in the Gulf Countries.
My husband was extremely cruel. He was a sadist who enjoyed torturing me. Married life was hell for me. I used to heave huge sighs of relief when he went back to Gulf for work leaving me with his people. His younger brother was the only one who sympathized with me. It seemed that he could see and feel the various bruises and burn injuries caused by cigarette butts on my body. His old mother ignored my cries of despair. My parents thought caring for the daughters ended with their marriage.
As time went on, I became mother to two children. Still, I dreaded my husband’s return home on leave. Whenever I get news that he will be home for a few days, I would start contemplating death. I stand near the well in the compound, near the electricity post or the stove in the kitchen seriously wondering whether it would be easier to commit suicide than suffer his tortures. Thoughts of my little kids would pull me back from the death-wish though I knew that my hesitation was pulling me deeper into the abyss of misery. Fear makes one less tolerant of physical hurt. That time when he came home, my trepidation led to unbearable pains. He seemed to enjoy that. No woman should experience such horrors from her husband who is supposed to protect and love her. On the third day of his leave, I got admitted in the hospital. He threatened that if I reveal the real reason behind the injuries, he would kill me and my kids. So even when the doctors asked me repeatedly to file a police complaint, I just cried and refused to budge.
After he left, for the first time in my life, I experienced love. I was taken home from the hospital by my husband’s brother in the car. He had a small job in town. He was also getting ready to go to the Gulf in search of a new job. As I sat on the front seat, he kept consoling me and telling how much he understood and empathized with me. I knew I should have considered him as my brother too; I was ethically his elder sister even though age wise, he was older than me. Still, I fell in love with him. He treated me as if I was as brittle as glass, as soft as cotton. His supple and gentle touches made me feel like a bud caressed by the bee to open up to a sweet smelling flower. Till then I never knew that a man could give so much pleasure to a woman. Our love was an unstoppable flow and it just had to happen. We were careful to be as secretive as possible though I never felt any guilt in that relationship. But good things hardly last in my life.
Somehow my mother in law came to know about it. And things took a turn for the worse. She started to attack me at the slightest opportunity. What started as a mental harassment soon became physical. She quarreled with her younger son and packed him off from the house to a distant relative’s house. She started beating up my kids just to spite me. One night she made the little children stand outside the house the whole night just to see me cry.  And she summoned my husband home. I knew she must have told him everything because his cruelty towards me became intolerable. I decided to kill myself then. I had no other escape route. My parents and relatives also accused me of immorality and told me not to approach them for any help.
The night my husband came home was one of extended torture. After beating me till I almost lost consciousness, he left home with my daughter to his uncle’s house nearby promising more torture once he returned. When I could get up from the floor, I took out the sharp knife I kept hidden under the bed and slashed deep both my wrists one after the other. Let him take care of the kids. But let him not marry again, God, I prayed as I lost consciousness. Just before my mind got invaded by blackness, I saw it clearly. Someone came into the room and carried my sleeping little son outside in his arms. Who was that, why and where was he taking my son? I wanted to scream, but couldn’t. I attempted to get up so that I could stop him, but my body was too weak.
The next day I regained consciousness and found that I was at a hospital. The first thing I saw was some women police officers staring at me. One of them told me that my mother in law and my little son were found murdered at the house. Once the shock of that news sank into my semi conscious mind, they gave me further shock by saying that I was the major suspect. I couldn’t understand it at first. I was unconscious. I thought I was dead. I attempted suicide. See my wrists? I slashed it, wanting to die. At that time my son and mother in law were alive. Someone must have come in and killed them. I saw my son being taken out of the room by someone. No, I couldn’t recognise him, still I saw him. I told them all this several times. I was too weak to even stop that, how could I kill them? I kept on repeating this to anyone who cared to listen. But the police case was already decided by then.
No one other than me had any motive to kill them. I committed the crimes so that I could live a new married life with my brother in law. My husband and his brother were far away and they had alibis. Nothing was stolen from the house. There was no forced entry into the house. The front door of the house was found open, but from inside. I opened it with plans to drag the bodies outside. The knife which stabbed them to death had my fingerprints in it. And I slashed my wrists after killing my son and mother in law for telling the police a false story. This was the police case. I asked them how I could expect to live an illicit life with my brother in law if my husband was still there. Shouldn’t it be him that I should kill first instead of my little baby? How could a mother kill her own little son? And the knife they recovered as the murder weapon was the one I used daily to cut vegetables in the kitchen. Naturally it will have my finger prints. None of my questions were heeded to by anyone.
For the last twelve years I am living within these dark prison cells for a crime committed by someone else. Days, nights, birthdays, festivals… there is no distinction for anything here. It is an eternal cave of darkness. One day they will come to know the truth, I kept that hope alive. After a few years in this jail, I got an anonymous letter. As is the practice, the jail authorities opened and read it before it was handed to me. It had no name of the sender. It said,
“It was I who killed them. I had my reasons. I who took out your sleeping son. He didn’t suffer, his death was fast. I tied your bleeding hands with cloths. I didn’t want you to die. I also called the neighbours to intimate them about the murders. I know you are convicted wrongly, I know that you are innocent. But I can’t surrender before the police now. I can’t reveal my identity or save you. I feel bad about you. If this letter can save you somehow, then you can prove your innocence and get out of prison.”
Hope, that dim lamp which lights up optimism within the heart started to shine after I read that letter. I sent copies of it to the judge who convicted me and to the police officers through my advocate. It has been a few years since I sent it. The original letter is still with me. No one came to enquire about it so far. I don’t know if they are even enquiring into it. Last time I asked my advocate he hinted that the police think that the letter was a fabricated one. Do they think I wrote it myself? When I went on parole? And posted it to myself? Pray, why? “You filed an appeal against your conviction in the High Court. They feel that such a letter may be a good defense from your side to at least ask for a re-investigation. So the police have just ignored that letter and didn’t include it in the case file, which is now closed by the way.” The advocate told me.
But truth will triumph one day. It has to. Now no one wants me. My husband and my daughter refuse to see me. My brother in law is in the Gulf now; he married a few years back. When on parole I used to go to my brother’s house. He is reluctant to take me on parole these days. But I still hope that everything to clear up and my innocence will be proved. Because I did nothing wrong, not a single thing!