The Cycle


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Published author with first novel 1971: A War Story. Also published thousands of articles in mainstream newspapers and magazines. https://drneelamverma.com  [+]

Image of Fall 2020
Image of Short Fiction
Nina sat all dressed up, in clumsy makeup and low cut silver shiny blouse, on a bright magenta saree, her bright red lipstick, staining her teeth and bleeding on the corner of her mouth. Every evening, she was made to dress up like a slut and wait for a customer. What like a slut? She was a slut. She hated it, she hated her life, loathed the dirty surroundings, dirty bed sheets smeared with the semen of many men who would come and go every night. In the last one-year she had tried to escape a few times, but the madam’s goons brought her back. Then she was punished for running away, by being beaten up with belts, denied food for days, and even chipped her toenails. That had hurt and bled for days. But today was going to be special. He had promised to set her free. She waited.

It has been a year since she was kidnapped. She did not know where she was except that she was somewhere in India. Just 13 years old, but those injections they had given her, made her look like 18. She missed her parents, her little brother who would now be 10 years old, and hopefully going to school. She too had wanted to study but her parents were too poor. She had to help out at home so her parents could put bread on the table.

Nina so wished she was not born a girl. Just because she was one, every month, she was banished to live on the outskirts of her village Jhulaghat, in Nepal. Every household in the village practiced the custom of Chhaupadi. Every time a girl or woman in the village had her monthly cycle, they were banished to live in huts on the outskirts of the village. It was during one of those periods, that she was kidnapped in the middle of the night after her food was drugged. When Nina awoke, she found herself in a brothel house. For months, she was injected with medicines so she could grow faster. Soon she saw herself evolve into a voluptuous woman, which just did not suit her innocent 13-year-old face. She cried for days and months and eventually had to give in. There was no escape.

“Mother, why are only girls banished? Why not boys?” she had asked her mother once.

“Because we become impure when we have our cycle. That is why we are not allowed to enter the kitchen or the temple”.

“How?”
“I don’t know, my dear. But it is believed that during the Veda era, a Brahmin murder happened during the cycle and then God Indra distributed a curse. When we have this cycle, the curse is back and we have to be purified.”

“But can’t we be purified at home?”

Irritated at her questions, her mother snapped. “I don’t know. Go ask the priest. I did not make these rules.”

After her vain third attempt at escaping, she had resolved to bear and dare, before they start to torture her again. As she lay on the floor, watching the ray of moonlight sneak in through a crack in the door, where she was locked in, she decided to wait her time. Anyway, there was no escape. A stream of tears flowed smoothly from the corner of her eyes, passing through her hair and on the floor. Her grandmother had once told her, “Think positive and good things will happen to you.”

Yes, I have to think positive and something good will happen, she resolved. “I will find my way out one day.” She longed to hug her mother, put her head on her grandmother’s lap, and let her caress her hair lovingly. Back then, whenever she was sad, she would go to her grandmother, and her mere touch would alleviate her sadness.

Chapter 2

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Nina was waiting for any opportunity to escape, but security was tight. They were housed on the second floor with about 15 or 16 girls. There was a flight of stairs that went down from the back, leading to the back lane. But the exit door always remained locked from outside. Every window and the small balcony had iron bars. They could look out and fresh air could come in. But you couldn’t even put your head outside to have a better look. The place was like a jail, maybe worse than one, thought Nina.

The exit door only opened when food was brought in or when customers had to come in. No one could come up or go down without the knowledge of those gun-toting goons, who remained on alert, especially after so many attempts by the girls to escape. She held no chance.

Every morning when she went to bed, she told herself – the day will come, that day will come. I will escape one day, that day will come. She recited to herself like a lullaby, every day, and put herself into a dreamy sleep. Her dreams took her back to her village, where she played one leg with her brother, running after him and playing hid-and-seek. But when she awoke in the afternoon, reality would strike and she would find herself in this 10x10 cubbyhole. Hopeless but alive.

Chapter 3

It was a rainy evening when this handsome young man, dressed in khakhi uniform, came to the door. He looked like an official, maybe a policeman thought Nina. Looking at him, as he came in, for the first time she wanted to love someone. This man had a kind face, appeared affable, amiable, and charming. He talked politely too.

He took her innocent face in his hands and asked, “What is your name?”

“Nina.”

Caressing her innocent face and sliding his hands to her neck and bending down, he kissed her softly. He certainly was different, thought Nina. He was not rough, he did not pull out her clothes as others would nor did he hurt her. Yes, he was different. Maybe her savior.

Once done, she got the courage to talk to him.

“Are you a policeman?”

He nodded, getting up to put on his clothes.

“Can you help me?”

“Sure. What do you want?”

“I want to get out of here. Can you help?”

The policeman put on his shoes and asked casually, “Where will you go?”

Nina whispered as tears welled in her eyes, “Home. I want to go home, sir.”

“Where is home, my dear?”

“In Nepal.”

The policeman smirked. “And how do you plan to go to Nepal?”

Nina said slowly, “I can think about it after I get out of here.”

The policeman shrugged. “Let’s see what I can do. I will come back.”

And he did come back, not once or twice, but continuously for a week till Nina got impatient.

“You are not helping. You come every day, do your business and go. If you don’t want to help me, you can say so. At least, I will not have hope.”

“Of course I want to help you. Now listen to me. I am planning to raid the brothel tomorrow. I will not come to the police. But tomorrow, during the raid, you go with a policeman whose name is Hari. He will take you to people who can help you get to Nepal.”

Her sad, innocent face suddenly lit up. She jumped up in joy and excitement. She hugged the policeman and whispered, “Thank you so much.”

True to his word, there was a raid the next day and she happily went with the man named Hari who promised to take her to Nepal.

On the way, she asked for water from Hari, who handed her a bottle.

Hours or days later, she woke up in a room with two older men staring down at her.

“Where am I?”

“With us.”

“Who are you?”

“Your new owner my dear. I just bought you. Now you are my slave.”

“Slave? Owner? What are you talking about?”

The men laughed heartily.

She looked out the window. A police jeep rolled away. The golden hue of the fading magnificent sun, cast an orange glow on her pretty slimy young face. No one can give me the sunset. Only nights. Her grandmother always said, “The sun sets so it can bring in a new beautiful dawn.” My dawn will come. She lay down again as a heavy load was put on top of her.

A deal was struck.

Money was paid.

Property had changed hands.

Another cycle had begun.
424

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Image of Marwah Abuhandara
Marwah Abuhandara · ago
Congratulations!!! You deserve the biggest win!
Image of Deshbandhu Singh
Deshbandhu Singh · ago
Such a nice piece of writing, Neelam. You deserve many more accolades. Congratulations!
Image of Keith Simmonds
Keith Simmonds · ago
Heartiest congratulations for this fantastic and well deserved win, Neelam! Keep up the wonderful work!
Image of Neelam Batra-Verma
Neelam Batra-Verma · ago
Thanks ..how about you?
Image of Vikas Kumar
Vikas Kumar · ago
Awesome😍
Vikas Kumar
From:- Bijnor (UP)

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Vidit Kothari · ago
Now this was depressing
Image of Manav Sachdeva
Manav Sachdeva · ago
Congratulations di
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Deepul Kumar · ago
Deepul from bijnor
Congrats di

Image of Vineet Kaushik
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Manu singh · ago
great story well-done
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Clifford Joseph · ago
Well written keep it up
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Puja Khullar · ago
Well written 👏
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Nishi Kuthar · ago
I like the story.
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Satvinder Jaswal · ago
Very heart touching and truth .
Image of Kuldip Kang
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Manjot Singh · ago
Very well. 👍
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Keith Simmonds · ago
A fabulous story with great potential!
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Miriam Plato · ago
Thanks again for sharing with me!
Image of Ayushi Tayal
Ayushi Tayal · ago
Heart touching story.good work keep it up🙂from bijnor
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Apurvie Tandon · ago
Wonderful story😊😊from Bijnor
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Megha Garg · ago
Amazing....keep it ip...👍👍👍
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Rahul Gupta · ago
Superb..👍👍👍🌹🌹🌹
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Rakesh Anand · ago
Amazing ... very real description. Good to read
Image of Shikha Sachdeva
Shikha Sachdeva · ago
Do u r the best
From chanu

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Suresh Verma · ago
Keep it up my dear!!! Good luck
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Amanda Muirhead · ago
What a lovely story!
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Murlimanohar Batra · ago
Very heart touching story . Good luck
Image of Kunal Sethi
Kunal Sethi · ago
Beautiful story!
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Reena Dhingra · ago
All the best .. great work 👍
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Shailja Verma · ago
All the best Neelam
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Sahil Kapoor · ago
All the best :)
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Manoj Suri · ago
You deserve to win Neelam
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Manav Sachdeva · ago
Congratulations di.......
U will surely won👍👍👍😊

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P K · ago
My heartiest wishes too
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Shikha Sachdeva · ago
Congratulations di
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Jhumur Datta · ago
Your story touched me to the core.Beautifully crafted.
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Neelam Batra-Verma · ago
thanks. can you hit the blue heart sign to vote please.
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Poonam Mahendru · ago
Was worth reading!👍
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Neelam Batra-Verma · ago
Thanks for reading Poonamji. you have to click on heart sign to vote.
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Binny Yadav · ago
Great story. Should win
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Ann Soni · ago
Best of Luck Neelam!
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Vinita Tole · ago
Good luck 👍
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Puja Kashyap · ago
Best of luck Neelam
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Arti Bhandari · ago
Good luck Neelam 👍Keep up the good work .Beautiful story.
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Neeru Pasricha · ago
Very real! Sad story of our Society! Neelam, you brought up dark side of our society!
Very well written!

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Poonam Bhalla · ago
Good luck Neelam !!
Image of Dharmvir Gehlaut
Dharmvir Gehlaut · ago
This story has many elements which are embedded very beautifully. I enjoyed the characters and their emotional sides in this story. Neelam deserve this award based on her writing skills.
Wishing you a wonderful outcome!
Dharmvir Gehlaut

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Payal Suri · ago
Best of luck 👍
Image of Meenu Dondona
Meenu Dondona · ago
Best of luck👍
Image of Mekhala Kake
Mekhala Kake · ago
Very sensitive and we'll written
Image of jas Grewal
jas Grewal · ago
Moved by the depth of the story! Keep it up, Neelam...
Image of Dee Vee
Dee Vee · ago
Seems like a true chain of events. Very realistic story, indeed.
Image of RAJEEV VISHWAKARMA
RAJEEV VISHWAKARMA · ago
Deeply touched by the story. Keep it up, Neelam!!!
Image of Rashmi Rawat
Rashmi Rawat · ago
Another beautiful story Neelam . Way to go .
Image of Shishir Rawat
Shishir Rawat · ago
Very nice story.
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Rishi Bajaj · ago
Great going Neelam Di. 👏👏👏
Image of Sunita Dewan
Sunita Dewan · ago
Understanding of reader’s psychology. Subject knowledge and keeping readers on toes until conclusion Great efforts Neelam
Image of Renu Verma
Renu Verma · ago
Very beautifully expressed .. keeps engrossed ...
Really enjoyed

Image of Shikha Sachdeva
Shikha Sachdeva · ago
All the best di.
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Satinder Singh · ago
Neelam very proud of you👏🏽👏🏽
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Lata immaraju · ago
All the best for the finals Neelam.
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Anju Chawla · ago
Great job keep it up👍👍
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Ritu Jhamb · ago
Well done Neelam ! You are very talented and keep up the good work. All the Best.
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Sheetal Bajaj · ago
Beautiful story which give positivity and hope in this negative time
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Sidharth Kanattil · ago
Raw and realistic!
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Sudhir Menon · ago
An excellent and well-written story.
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Lata immaraju · ago
Wishing for happy endings for the many Ninas’ trapped in this terrible horrible trap.
Image of Sarita Bhalla
Sarita Bhalla · ago
Interesting read Neelam
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Sanjeev Mehrotra · ago
Excellent 👍👌♥️
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Val Belina · ago
Sad story - but well written.
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Neelam Batra-Verma · ago
you forgot to hit the heart button to vote. Thanks a lot
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Sharon Savory · ago
like it very much
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Cintia Fonseca · ago
Perfect read! Well written Neelam.
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Adriana Gherman · ago
What a delightful read 😊 on a rainy afternoon. Well done Neelam
Image of Maria Gasper
Maria Gasper · ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this short story. I want to hear more of Nina. I was engaged the whole time.
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Sunita Dewan · ago
Highly emotional , loved the flow of story on a grave issue .Fully possess the qualities of a great author to keep readers engaged ! 😍
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Poonam Bhalla · ago
Great job Neelam !!
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Mamta Raghuram · ago
Congratulations!
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Satinder Singh · ago
Neelam great work!
Image of Miriam Plato
Miriam Plato · ago
Very well written and great job on such a 'controversial' subject. You certainly set off a handful of emotions.
Image of Vinita Tole
Vinita Tole · ago
Congratulations!
Image of Ritu Jhamb
Ritu Jhamb · ago
Interesting Read. Well done !
Image of Shishir Rawat
Shishir Rawat · ago
Very well written. Congratulations
Image of tarika batra
tarika batra · ago
A very interesting read.
Image of KAMALJIT TALWAR
KAMALJIT TALWAR · ago
Stories move through spaces, out as news behind veils as a story...you just pen it down so creatively Neelam ji
Image of Sanjeev Bhambri
Sanjeev Bhambri · ago
Very well written. Keep it up.
Image of Omprakash Maglani
Omprakash Maglani · ago
Very well penned.
Image of Durgesh Vishwakarma
Durgesh Vishwakarma · ago
Thats why women say: agle jamam mohe bitiya na kijo!!!
Image of Rajeev Vishwakarma
Rajeev Vishwakarma · ago
So realistic depiction of the grave situation
Image of Meenu Dondona
Meenu Dondona · ago
Very well written
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Tushar Arora · ago
Amazing story. I hope it reaches millions.
Image of Manoj Suri
Manoj Suri · ago
Very well written, engrossing.
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Jaishree Raturi · ago
Excellent write up
Image of Rashmi Rawat
Rashmi Rawat · ago
Excellent! Heart touching story.
Image of Poonam Luthra
Poonam Luthra · ago
Heart touching story.Well writte.
Image of Preeti Narang
Preeti Narang · ago
Excellent Read.
Image of Anju Chawla
Anju Chawla · ago
Excellent
Very well written👍

Image of Beena Singla
Beena Singla · ago
Interesting article
Image of Payal Suri
Payal Suri · ago
Excellent read! Kept me engrossed in the story until the end
Image of Rishi Bajaj
Rishi Bajaj · ago
Very well articulated 👏
Image of Leena Narang
Leena Narang · ago
Great read. Keeps you engrossed.
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Vishal Duggal · ago
A moving tale of a helpless girl caught into the vicious tentacles of flesh trade. Hats off Neelam!
Image of Suresh Verma
Suresh Verma · ago
Excellent read
Image of Sheetal Bajaj
Sheetal Bajaj · ago
Very well written,and expressed
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Image of Renu Verma
Renu Verma · ago
Very well written ....
Kept engrossed ...

Image of Dharmvir Gehlaut
Dharmvir Gehlaut · ago
Neelam Batra is an excellent story teller! Great creative work!
Thank you
Dharmvir

Image of Neelam Batra-Verma