It was Thursday evening, Saumasri Ganguly, known to the world as Dimpy Mahajan, was pleading on the phone. The familiar and assuring voice of her mother was all she needed to break down. “I am all alone here ma, even baba (father) is not supporting me.”
By Thursday evening it was obvious, a battered, bruised Dimpy was fighting a lonely battle.
A family of extremely modest means, the Gangulys had played their parts during her closely followed reality TV marriage. They had taken a leap of faith once, but seemed to fight shy of doing it again.
They wanted her to go back to Rahul Mahajan, the man they believed truly, madly, deeply, loved her.
A man, who could afford her the life and the luxuries they had always wished for their daughter. “Or else why would Rahul send her business class tickets to return to Mumbai every time she came here for her exams?” questioned Dimpy's concerned uncle, who lives in the same house as her family in north Kolkata.
Meanwhile, the 21-year-old was visibly in pain. The bruises on her thighs, hands and forehead were raw, throbbing. She feared for her life, her father's life, who was at that very moment sitting with the man who had been beating her up.
When Mirror called up Mahajan on Thursday night, he said, "I just had dinner with Dimpy's father."
What he did not tell us was retired income-tax lawyer Saibal Ganguly, his father-in-law who had flown down from Kolkata in response to his daughter's distress call, was there as a peacemaker.
He was trying to get an idea of what could have gone so horribly wrong between the charmer of a son-in-law and their beloved daughter.
Rahul Mahajan, flush from the success of his stint in Bigg Boss which saw him garner unprecedented public sympathy, participated in a reality show to choose his wife. 21-year-old model and small time Bengali actress Dimpy, wide-eyed and in Mumbai to try her luck in the glamour world, seemed to be a perfect choice.
Rahul and Dimpy were bonafide reality TV stars and seemed determined to milk it. Both made a slew of appearances on various TV shows, always professing undying love for each other.
But there was trouble in paradise. "Fights over petty issues would blow out of proportion and turn physical. He once hit me with a hanger, leaving a huge scar on my back," says Dimpy.
The violence, she says, escalated with her insistence on appearing for her second year exams. A fact corroborated by her uncle Tapan Ganguly. "He would summon her back every time she came to Kolkata for her exams. He said, there was no need to study and for some Rs 5000-job. But Dimpy wanted to complete her studies," said her uncle.
June was a particularly bad month for Dimpy. Twice she got her mother-in-law Rekha Mahajan involved in the fracas. "I went back to Kolkata quite often because of the fights. Each time Rahul would cajole me to return and promise it wouldn't happen again. I kept giving in, in the faith that he was a nice guy and he loved me. But there was this other side of him which I couldn't handle. Also, being a middle-class girl, I wanted to give the marriage my best shot."
Things came to a head right after the young couple celebrated their birthdays, which happen to be on the same day, on July 25. "All of Wednesday we spent time together and even had a few drinks in the evening. I went to sleep, only to be rudely awakened early in the morning by a blow on my face," says Dimpy. "Rahul had seen something on my cell phone and wanted to know where it came from."
Shocked but determined not to give in to his terror tactics, Dimpy told him upfront she was in no mood to oblige. "I told him even if you kill me, now I won't say anything." It was enough to send Rahul into a fit of rage and he continued with his assault.
"When I tried to run to the servant's quarters next door, he grabbed me by my hair and kept hitting me even after I fell down."
After the beatings, he started making calls to her parents in Kolkata asking them to make her see reason. "While he was on the phone, I grabbed my passport, wallet and cellphone and fled the house." Dimpy ran down few flights and hid in the dark passageway between the two buildings and then made a distress call to her friend at 4.38 am. Only after her friend arrived half an hour later did she get out of her hiding place.
The trauma continues
Meanwhile her father flew down from Kolkata by 4.30 pm the same day, even as she remained holed up in her friend's house. By this time, she had made up her mind to walk out and went back to Rahul's house to pack her bags. "My father tried his best to help us reconcile and kept telling me that Rahul is a nice guy. At this I broke down and called my mother. I felt all alone, as even my father was taking his side. But later I could see his point of view. He is a simple middle-class man who didn't want to see his daughter's marriage breaking up."
After over two hours, Dimpy left the house, along with her belongings and pet dog Naughty (gifted to her by Rahul) to her cousin's place in the suburbs. Her father stayed back with Rahul to sort things out.
More drama was to follow. Rahul, who had by then got wind of her decision to go public tried damage control and sent her father to pacify her. The discussion between the family members continued till the wee hours of Friday morning.
As the day panned out, Rahul, clearly rattled by the attention, sent out feelers that he would speak to the media later in the day. Dimpy, though, indicated in her conversation with the Mirror team that she was contemplating going to the cops, but was held back by her concern for her family. "Before I do anything drastic, I will speak to my in-laws and request them to make Rahul understand that he has crossed the limits. If he sees reason, I will not approach the cops but stay away from him."
Many hours of parleying between family members later, Dimpy Mahajan stepped out and faced the world, pale, tired, yet resolute. "We are disturbed by what has happened. I need time alone to recover," she said before disappearing into Rahul's apartment in Sukhada, Worli.
A lonely battle
But the odds were clearly stacked against Dimpy. Her father and her in-laws wanted her to go back to her abusive husband. Her mother, the only woman who sympathised with her, had taken ill after the news of the incident reached her. In fact, Saibal Ganguly told Mumbai Mirror, "Dimpy is only 21 and inept at handling family problems. That is why she spoke to the media. Please understand, such quarrels happen between couples, especially when the girl is so young. Something must have angered but he is repentant now. Rahul's mom and I want them to stay together and Dimpy will go back to him."
Sources close to Dimpy say, she has decided to go back to Kolkata. When Mirror called Rahul later in the evening, he claimed Dimpy was sleeping at home. "Her dog is also with me," he said, adding, "The country should pray for us."
Eerily, it sounded as if he was back on TV.
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