I ran away from home when I was just 9 as I was beaten up and abused by my parents. When I arrived at the railway station, some local men approached me. They offered me to work at a home where I will be provided with food and accommodation as well. I was naive and trusted them. They gave me something to eat, and I fell unconscious. When I opened my eyes, I found myself in a brothel.
It wasn't easy to accept what was happening to me. I pleaded with the women at the brothel to let me go. But I was beaten and abused. The people at the brothel asked me to give them the amount of money for which I was sold. I felt that I had fallen into a trap I could never escape from. However, when the police raided the brothel along with some NGO members, I got out of there.
I was taken back to my village and I met my parents after a long time. My parents were not ready to accept me and my existence did not matter to them anymore. They told the NGO members, 'She is dead for us.' Those words still echo in my memory. I had nowhere to go at that time. It felt like life had ended for me.
I was shifted to a shelter home situated on the outskirts of the city. I felt depressed and low most of the time. The trauma from my past hovered on my mind all the time. I even attempted to die by suicide to end everything. Soon, I was given counselling sessions, and I vented out how I felt all this time.
I wanted to feel accepted by my family and get back to my previous life. But they were not ready to do so. The counsellor also visited my parents. They were adamant about their decision and not ready to listen to anything related to me.
Finally, I decided to take complete control of my life and start things from scratch. I started learning new skills at the shelter home. I spent around three years there, and I learnt cooking, stitching, baking and similar things.
I was always interested in baking and aspired to be a baker someday. I got an internship at a baking shop with the assistance of NGO members and learnt many things while working there. It was one of the best phases of my life.
Later, I joined a packaging factory where I worked full-time. I could finally earn my living, and I felt confident about myself. I met my husband while I was working at the factory.
He liked me and proposed to me to get married. However, I did not trust him when he approached me first as my trust had been broken many times. I told him about my past, thinking that he would never accept me. But, it did not matter to him. He was very supportive and asked me to let go of all my bad memories. Both of us wanted to build a life together. It was all that mattered for us.
We worked together at the factory. However, it was still not enough to assist us financially. I have always wanted to do something on my own, and with my husband's constant support, I opened a Kurti shop in my locality. It feels good to be running your own shop and having a loving family as well.
I never thought that after facing such difficult years, I would be able to live a happy and fulfilling life. Now, I have a five-year-old son and I want to educate him so that he could lead a dignified life when he grows up.
I still plan to open a small bakery someday. After all, one should never lose hope of better times ahead.
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