“As a child, I was very introvert. I wanted to scream and pour out everything going inside my subconscious mind. Social media, Facebook gave me that place to speak my heart out. I did not want to die, nor I wanted to give up. I felt as if I was losing grip on everything. My friends and relatives were left behind somewhere. I always knew that problems are not a part of everyone’s understanding, which made me stand still and strong and face everything. In the beginning, I didn’t even know how to fight back, and even I had no idea against who I was fighting. If there is any parameter to measure tolerance, I knew it would have probably broken on my helplessness.
My husband Atul Dubey started a business in Chhattisgarh after giving up his job in a pharmaceutical firm. He invested all his time and all his energy in his business. We have begun our business after etching “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah” in every shop and workplace.
As our business was expanding and nobody was there to take care of it, my husband decided to give half of the retail share to one of our friends who was also the president of pharmaceuticals association. After some time due to grim financial irregularities, we withdrew his share from the firm.
I was a housewife and was engrossed in my household chores and kids. I am a graduate in Sanskrit literature. A very ordinary woman who had her world confined to her family and their happiness. I was taught in my childhood that fights and outrage are not the solutions to any problem, in fact, we should make this world a better place to live in.
I would write to Maneka Gandhi regarding the ill health of street animals, and I would also speak to her over the phone. She would always help me. Also, during that time Anna Andolan had started which intrigued me and I joined it. I was asked by the movement supporters to handle the message centre and then was further made the coordinator from Chhattisgarh. But due to constant pressure and mounting expectations, I withdrew my membership as I believed that to justify my work, I did not need any stage.
But I was already exposed to the world of corrupts who were ready to make my life miserable. God had made my connection with the minister of an exploited system. I had no idea what was next and not even an ordinary citizen like me could have contemplated it.
To balance the constant pressure of work, my husband had maintained a legal agreement with one of the pharmaceutical chain stores “Prisma Medical.” He planned to run the chain as a manager of the store and the owner would pay us the profit. After complete legal process and agreement, we handed over our stock of Rs 55-72 lakh to them. We had disclosed every single detail in that agreement about our borrowings from the market. We anticipated things to get better.
Initially, for three months, they operated our shops. In the beginning, they gave us some money but then they reduced the stock and distributed our stock in their other branches. They gave our stock of Rs 72 lakh in Rs 20 lakh, and when we asked for our profit, they told us that there had been considerate loss in the shop and they will not be able to pay our share in profit.
I also became a part of this ongoing struggle as my husband who is the owner of the shop suffers from early Parkinson’s disease. It is mandatory for him to stay stress-free. He has trouble in walking and speaking. I requested them to consider my misery and help me. It was hard to pay bills, and there was an absolute financial crunch. The earning was blocked from all the sources. I felt that it was a difficult phase and it will subsequently pass away. I started praying more.
After all the doors of solutions were closed, a silver lining appeared in the clouds. I thoroughly checked and studied the legal documents and agreements and asked them to hand over my medical shop back. But, instead, they refused and threatened my husband. They warned us not to come back again. I had already leapt in the vicious circle of this destiny. I managed to get back not only my shop but also through Indian Constitution; I tried to understand their hypocrisy and lies.
Their employees who were working in my shop denied continuing with their work and left their job. I started managing my shop. While I would sit there, they would target me and use foul language. They would pass absurd comments near my shop and after complaints, when police arrested them., the local minister Brij Mohan Agarwal would call the police officials and ensured that they get released.
At midnight, On 22nd February 2014, after another incident, I along with my son went to Brij Mohan’s office and told him and his staff that their actions were captured on my CCTV camera, and it was proven that he bailed the culprits out. I urged him and asked him what he would have done had there been his daughter or sister. The minister asked us to come next day. My husband and I went to meet Brij Mohan. He told us that the owner of the chain stores is his childhood friend, who is also the son of his teacher. He asked us to compromise. I asked him what compromise was to be made for. The owners of the Prisma medical were cheaters despite we gave them shop just for three years. They were breaking the rules which are against the law.
Life had taken a halt. My son couldn’t continue his studies.
Everyday there was a rampage created by the people in my shop. I was just an ordinary housewife. I had no clue how to take over the business. I was learning daily. My sixth sense and my subconscious mind were repeatedly sending signals of how courageous I had to become to face absurd comments; people outrage, non-cooperation by the medicine dealers, unending notices from every department, raids by drug authorities, the presence of unacceptable elements, humiliation and insolence by the customers, false complaints against me. Every bad omen was giving me a vibe of negative energy but despite several thoughts, I couldn’t figure out who could ever be behind it. I narrated every incident on facebook vividly.
Every proceeding against me would gain momentum, and people would accuse me of irrelevant things. Even providing evidence from my CCTV camera was of no use. I wanted to know who was behind it. I wanted to know the real face of the person who had knit that cobweb. But the face in my thoughts was invisible.
I narrated my ordeal to Maneka Gandhi who directed DGP Upadhyay to proceed in my case. Upadhyay handed over the case to CID. I spoke out everything in front of the CID chief. Instead of any help, they defamed our medical shop and fabricated lies were published in every newspaper. I realised that I was paying for my mistake of narrating my ordeal to Maneka Gandhi.
I thank God that the CID chief came to threaten me which solved my every query and sorted out the puzzle. The owner of Prisma Medical would warn me that BrijMohan’s money was invested in his business and that he will not spare me. I am still struggling and fighting against the odds but this day to day ordeal makes me strong.”
The Logical Indian had called Mr Brij Mohan Agarwal to talk about the matter but he refuted the claims.
Story of Arti Bajpai Dubey
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