I want my name back
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The family had no option but to hastily sell their house and leave Suryanelli for Kottayam. "On the evening of March 22, 2006, we put everything we had in a truck and left the hills. My friends had stopped coming to me since the case came out. So, I had no one to say goodbye to," she says.
The 'Suryanelli girl' tag followed the family to Kottayam, where they bought a new house. "We had left Suryanelli unable to bear the attention. But the real estate brokers who had arranged the Kottayam house for us had spread the news about our coming,'' says her father.
Life, as they knew it, was over. No movies, no shopping, no family or friends, no Sunday Mass. "My social life ended the day I was trapped. Over the last 17 years, I have lived without friends. Our relatives have shunned us. In fact, they have instructed their children not to meet me or talk to me,'' she says. "Pappa goes out to get the provisions. He is still taunted. We are kept away from every function in the locality,'' she says, tears welling up in her eyes.
The only time she steps out is to go to office, 15 km from home. She works as a peon at the sales tax department office in Kottayam, a job she got during the CPM rule of 1996-2001. "After work, if I can't reach home by 6 pm, I call my father and he comes to pick me up at the bus stop. Before boarding the bus, I pray to God that no one identifies me. And if someone does, they usually nudge their co-passengers and point at me as the 'Suryanelli girl'. So far, I have not complained against anyone. And anyway, how many people can I drag to the police?'' she says.
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