They say that love shows up when you least expect it. What if it never does? What if it skips your door and you go through life without experiencing it? Maybe, I am the odd one out here or simply put, just unlucky in love...
It's not like I never tried. In the past, my friends set me up with some guys who they thought would be a good match for me. Somehow, things never worked out.
Either they were too good to be true, or just, complete jerks. Some of them even had the nerve to joke about my arm flab and dusky complexion. After a point, I asked my friends to take a backseat and shifted my attention to dating apps instead.
I was more comfortable in front of a screen than actually meeting people face to face. The first few swipes were a disaster. Men who could not hold a conversation to save their lives - such a pity.
Oh, and don't get me started on those ridiculously good looking guys either. Getting laid was all they cared about. Just when I was about to delete the app, I received a notification from a guy who swiped right. I clicked on his profile and I was instantly amused by his bio. It was witty, crisp and hilarious. Bonus: he had a cute profile picture too. A warm smile and a pair of fine-looking dimples. I couldn't stop blushing!
Minutes after my text, a "hi" followed. An hour later, my inbox was flooded with sweet messages. They didn't sound forced or anything, but genuine. We texted for hours that day! I woke up the next morning thinking it was all a dream, but it wasn't. He even sent me an adorable good morning message! I knew a connection was born. We would text from morning to night non-stop. In a couple of weeks, we moved from the dating app to adding each other on Facebook to exchanging numbers.
Life can get lonely at times if you're single. Having that one person to listen to you at the end of the day meant everything. He was that person to me. He would crack really lame jokes, but also discuss movies and plays with me. He was an intellect and I really believed that our relationship had a future. One night, he asked me if we could do a video call. I was nervous at first, but to my surprise, it went well. I have to admit, he looked even better during our video rendezvous than in the pictures. His smile was infectious and he kept showering me with compliments.
Not going to lie, I was attracted to him. At times when we'd get flirty, and I would send him a few saucy pictures of myself. Sometimes, even videos. He would later tell me how 'hard' those pictures made him feel. For the first time, I felt desired. There was somebody who found my body beautiful. Since we both lived in Mumbai, I asked him if we could meet during the weekend. He blamed his busy schedule for not being able to. We settled for texting.
All was going great, until the texting and the calling stopped. At first, I thought he was busy, but after four days of no contact, I started to get worried. Negative thoughts filled my mind. Questions like, "Where is he?" "Is he safe?" or even worse, "Is he ghosting on me?" kept me anxious. I realised I had fallen for him during this break. Luckily, he called me during the weekend and apologised for not keeping in touch. I felt relieved by this news, but his tone was low. He mentioned that his mother had to go through a surgery and he had been trying to arrange money for the same. Without a second thought, I volunteered to help. I had some saving and I transferred the funds into his account. He thanked me and asked me to give him some space until his mother recovered.
A week later, he had another financial request. He told me that he wanted Rs 20,000 for his graphic designing course as the surgery took away all his savings. I transferred that too. He was my source of happiness and I was willing to be there for him. Little did I know that his demands wouldn't stop. He kept asking me to Paytm him money to pay his phone bills, travel expenses etc. When I asked for receipts, he'd always change the topic. That's when I felt that something was fishy.
I myself was running low on cash because whatever I saved I would send it to him. One fine afternoon, I politely refused. I never expected him to change colours so fast. He called me a b*tch and hung up. This took me by shock! I was scared and reacted by blocking him. He texted me from another number and told me that if I did not send him money, he would post my nude pictures on FB.
He was putting pressure on me and every time I blocked his number, he'd call me up from a new one. I was living a nightmare and I did not know who to turn to for help. He even threatened me that he would send my pictures to my father. I don't know how he got his number, but somehow he was using it against me. That's when I told myself that enough was enough.
I wanted to tell my dad before he did. I told him about how I met Mr. troublemaker online, how I had fallen in love with him, the money I spent on him, and the abusive experience he's putting me through. To my surprise, my father did not lose his cool. On the contrary, he was determined to seek justice. He got the police involved and they helped track down his number.
Apparently, I wasn't the only victim. He had played other women too. He would first emotionally invest in them and later ask for money. Most of the women gave in. Just like me, they too were ashamed and scared to talk to someone about it. While this incident is still fresh and bitter in my mind, I'm glad that it's over. Not just for me, but for the other women too who got conned by him.
I'd like to end this by saying, don't trust any random guy on the internet. Avoid sharing any personal information like your age, address, bank details, Facebook password, email id and intimate photos. You never know when it can be used against you. Trust me, I learned the hard way.
Click here to file a complaint on the national cybercrime reporting portal or call the national women helpline number which is 181.
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