WHOM SHALL I TRUST? HOW SHALL I TRUST?

This formerly dynamic globe has slowed to a crawl due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Fitness is something that intrigued everyone during this period. I can hardly think of someone who did not invest even a moment of their time in fitness, be it yoga, weight training, or just some skipping at home for that matter. This pandemic is when people realized the value of health, not just physical but also mental, emotional, psychological, and social.
I remember the initial months when the lockdown was just imposed. I was never a fitness enthusiast, but Covid made me realize the importance. Lockdown was when I started to exercise and also saw the difference! The lockdown disrupted many elements of people’s lives, including the regular workout activities of fitness freaks.
I worked out at home for 2 years in a row. Had some moments when would go on a break for 2 weeks straight, but I always went back. This is when the gym started reopening and having clients in small numbers. I was already active, hence thought of joining a gym. I asked my friends if they were interested in joining me, and they were but were also skeptical about the safety as covid had already spread the terror of not going out of the house. But I was quite sure and serious about joining, hence did the same. One month in and I could already see the difference, my stamina was increasing, my strength was increasing, I was gaining muscle, and was also following a healthy diet. I was also having confidence in the staff and trainers as they guided, taught, and amended me very well. I used to visit at a particular time to get trained by a particular trainer as I was comfortable with him, maybe the fact of him being married and also having a girl child had some influence on the trust which I had built. This motivated one of those friends of mine to join. Initially, we would go together and get trained by that particular trainer itself, but in the long run, it could not be possible. Since society started to loosen up, institutes started opening up, and we all got busy with our chores, hence we made our way with the ease of ourselves, and we didn’t have to wait for each other. But still, we would get trained by the same trainer.
As my clock was ticking in to start my journey with Jaipuria, I steadily reduced my sessions with the gym as I got engrossed in my preparations for the same. My friend and I, just for the sake of some fun told the trainer I won’t be coming anymore, as I have already left the city.
Cut to the next day, my friend gave the trainer her phone to charge at the reception, but instead of providing it at the reception, he took that to his own office. Post her workout when she demanded her phone, he said- “andar aakar lelo”, she moved in, and started unplugging her charger when he just pulled it from her and said “baitho thodi baat karni hai” she thought he had something to talk about her membership expiring, and that is what he talked about, and just after that started to force himself on her and molested her. She immediately ran away. Without her phone. He was under the impression that I had left, hence nothing could be done.
She came running to my room, locked it, and narrated the whole incident. I was in distress, as I was the one because of whom she was associated to that person. She was in deep trauma as well. She needed advice. I instantly told her to share this with her parents or mother at least, but she wouldn’t, as in all Indian households, she would be the one who would be blamed and action would be taken, but against her, by not letting her even leave the house and maybe not even letting her complete her education, it would be looked upon as her fault.
She was adamant about not reaching out to her parents, and that’s when I decided I’ll have to do something. I immediately called up the manager at the gym and asked him about his whereabouts. Luckily, he hadn’t left and was in the gym itself. I went up with my friend, went to the trainer’s cabin, without saying anything, took her phone, and walked out of there. Explained the whole incident to the manager, and then he confronted the trainer. We were also present there. We then said we will be lodging an FIR, the trainer immediately started to apologize and started crying saying, ‘I too have a family and am sorry for what I did, I will resign but please don’t file an FIR and I will never repeat it again.’ We didn’t want to let him just go away, but considering he was the bread earner of the family, we thought of giving him a second chance but only on the grounds of resigning.
This was all done without either of our families knowing, I decided to disclose this incident to both our families and increase awareness in the gym at least. Families were difficult to handle, but did it, till when shall the victims be treated as accusers? This mentality had to be addressed. I was happy that I was able to understand that being a victim of sexual harassment has nothing to do with what the girl wears, but the intention that a man holds about a person. I do not know how I would even justify my existence if I had not done something. Even the thought of this day terrifies me, if I had not done anything, he would have done this with someone else as well. For me helping her get justice, making her family supportive towards her, even after going through that phase, and also making them aware of the situation was the most heroic moment of my life, maybe if I would have done nothing, I would not be able to take stand in public, and address her situation to her parents.
After all this I was just stuck with two questions, whom shall I trust and How shall I trust?

NIHARIKA KULTHIA

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