Mincy has parents and a younger sister. Her father was very strict with her. Mincy was closer to her father and her mother loved the younger one. Mincy’s parents also had problems. Both the girls went to school and studied up to the 7th and 8th standard.
Because their father was very strict both the girls were not allowed to go out. Mincy waited for a chance to get out. At one time she was daily going out to get milk. Slowly she fell in love with a boy. They came close to each other, wrote love letters and began to have fun and jokes. Few days they enjoyed each other’s company. Then he took her gold chain and said he would put it in the bank, rent a small room and they would live together. She agreed to it.
He came back arranging to sell her to the flesh trade. He took her to a big hotel in Ernakulum city. He put her in a room and went out pretending to buy something. That was the end of the love affair. He never returned to the hotel. Only after six months, she managed to come out with one of the customers. The next morning he did leave her alone. She immediately went to the house of her parents, but they did not allow her to even enter the house. She requested them to listen to her at least. But her parents and her sister chased her out. With that anger within her, she came back to the streets and joined other women who were ready to grab her into their group.
From then onwards Mincy developed a bitter attitude towards her parents as well as towards men. Because of what her boyfriend had done to her, she was ready to jump into any crime, including alcohol, smoking, drugs, pick -pocketing. She was especially known for stealing the neighbour’s chickens. She would go to anybody’s house at anytime of the night and take away clothes whenever she wanted, and moved about as a man. Mincy was a huge figure with a very dark complexion. She was known among them – in jail as well as in the surrounding where she lived as “glass Mincy” or “Knife Mincy”. Because she used glass pieces or a knife to defend herself, to attack others including policemen,. She used glass piece to cut herself and threaten. Her left hand had a number of such marks.
Mincy was a threatening figure in her area. She said the policemen themselves have used her and other women, while they are out on the streets or bus stand. Once she narrated a story, which shocked everyone. She was angry with a policeman and in order to teach him a lesson, first she made friendship with him and invited him to join her for a nightcap. He happily accepted her invitation without realizing what was in store for him. Mincy fed him with good food and strong alcohol unitl he was unconscious. She then moved his clothes and put them on herself, wrapped him up with her saree and left him there. And the next day she went to his house and handed over his clothes. Whenever Mincy narrated stories of this type, she made herself the “Hero”.
Another time one of her gang members let out a secret to the police. Mincy knew who had done it. She planned a similar idea to punish her. The gang normally went to a forest place during the day to enjoy themselves. Once about six of them went there, had good food and had a bit fun among them then the “Devil of Revenge” emerged from Mincy. She caught hold of this lady and tied her to a tree naked. It did not end there. She collected some big ants and put them on her private parts and standing a bit away they enjoyed the scene. This scene surely reminded me of the crucifixion of Jesus. The soldiers mocked Jesus saying “Come down”. This woman too was kept there for 2or 3 hours (may be the worst king of imprisonment). Later they relieved her.
Another occasion revealed the soft side of Mincy, when agreed to look after a man who was involved in a murder case. Both his hands were impaired badly. She stayed with him and looked after him day and night. They agreed to settle down together. But to her surprise, after caring for him for about 8 months, he got well and disappeared. By this time she also went to home a couple of times. Most of her neighbours were afraid of her. On one occasion she went to the house and had a solid fight with her father. Mincy also hanged herself on the wooden beam of the house. But fortunately the beam broke and she fell.
Mincy’s parents kept praying that their daughter would change her way of life. She spent many years like a hero there. I would like to quote one more story of hers, which is very revealing in terms of her personality. One night after she had completed her relationship with men, she came out wearing a shirt and pants. She hired an auto -rickshaw. The driver agreed to take her out because he was afraid of her. After a few minutes she asked him to stop the auto. After about few kms she stopped, to the driver to wait there till she gets the money from someday. She never returned. The poor auto driver could not so anything.
Then came her turning point. When she had a fight with another fellow and got a bad wound. She was in hospital for a long time. She was looked after by one of her customers – who had agreed to marry her and to live with her. Being a well-known sex –worker of the area, the doctors also were not interested. The wound got worse and she was told that she might not survive. Then she realized her misbehavior. She asked to see her parents before she should die. As soon as her mother heard the news, she wanted to go to visit Mincy, but the father was not willing. Then with great pressure on the part of the mother, he allowed her to go and see Mincy. Mincy’s mother gave some money to the doctor so that she would get better treatment for her daughter. Mincy slowly showed improvement.
Mincy wanted to come home and live there. But her father was still reluctant to take her. Finally her mother pleaded for her and she was brought home on condition that she did not go back to her past life. In time, her parents advised her to go to the Ashram. Though reluctant. She agreed.
Mincy at the Ashram
Mincy was brought to the Ashram by her own parents. Before they left the Ashram, the parents also said that their second daughter who is married with a child is in prison. They expressed their desire to bring her as well to the Ashram.
Mincy took great pleasure in proclaiming her stories loud to other inmates. Slowly we had to put a stop to this habit. We allowed her to pour out her life story to the sisters or the counselor – who came from a Family- counseling Centre. At times she would threaten us by saying she wanted to leave. The first time I spoke to her gently and convinced her to stay she agreed. Later on, after a few months, she came with her bags ready to leave. I gently told Mincy she could go and offered her travel fare. After a few minutes she changed her mind and never again expressed the desire to leave. At times we too have to be very firm with them and not give into their whims and fancies.
Mincy had very little self-esteem. Any time we confronted her about her behavior, she referred to her- self as a “prostitute” and put the blame on us. A second time I heard that, I spoke to her very firmly. I told her that she was calling herself a prostitute and not others. I told her that I did not want to hear this again from her lips. She was also counseled to accept herself as a good person and not to go over the past all the time. She had a lot of guilt feelings, which she was also helped to overcome. Of course it was not easy for Mincy to do this. Yet she tried her best and everybody helped her, encouraged her, though some staff and few residents were afraid of her. Only with good moral strength and God’s power we could control her.
Her parents often visited her at the Ashram; this bought a feeling of belonging to Mincy. Mincy stayed for one year at the Ashram. It was time for rehabilitation. Her house was a one-room tenement for the parents and the daughters, in order to make it easier for them; we found sponsors and helped the parents to build another room. They did that with the help of a contractor. But before they started living in it, it collapsed. Then the parents began to think of selling the house so they could move to a new place and begin afresh. They were hesitant to do so. Then Mincy was sent to another centre of ours for a second stage of rehabilitation process. There she made an exit because the centre was not yet well organized. It had just begun functioning. She stayed with them for a few months though trying to play the hero. Being in a new situation, she did take advantage on many occasions. She eventually returned to her parents, but unfortunately they did not keep her in the house.
Since the last one year, she is living with a man. Her father has helped them get a house to live in. she does not go to jail anymore. I still believe those two full years she stayed away from her past life – have helped her to think and be a changed person. Once she found a place to live; now she leads a settled life.