- The story of a beautiful single mother, and how she got there
By Ranee Mohamed
She had dreams, just like every single girl does. She had fears just like every unmarried girl does. And like all single people, she dreamed of the day she would get married – and look for a cosy home to live in – and how together they would choose and buy the furniture and cooking utensils.
Women dream and single women dream more often. Sometimes, as the twenties turn to thirties, these dreams are edged with fear and anxiety.
For marriage seems an essential in Sri Lankan society.
“I was reserved. I had a few friends. Yet, once a friend, I would go out of my way to help and do all I can for my friends in need,” said 32 year old Amali.*
“From November 2004 to March 2006, I worked at an leading IT company in Colombo 3 as a secretary/administrative executive. I resigned to join an airline in Qatar, came back and re-joined the same IT company in April 2007,” said Amali. “Kasun* joined a subsidiary of the IT company which handled their administration function in the Sri Lanka office in April 2007. He was a project manager/senior software engineer,” said Amali.
As the company was IT-based, the employees had access to internet facilities throughout the day and night, thus access to chat was open during the day and night.
This engineer who emanated a great sense of masculinity, fun and friendliness, had caught Amali’s eye. But like for all young single women, the fact that he was married was to Amali, a great source of despair and disgust.
“Kasun was in my MSN chat and on and off in July that year he would send messages to drag me into a conversation,” said Amali. Many things begin to brew with a ‘coffee’. And thankfully a voice in Amali’s head seemed to remind her that she did have enough tea at home — both leaf tea and tea bags; and two types of coffee – coffee to be brewed and instant too. Thus she rejected the constant suggestions to ‘coffee’ and ‘tea.’
“So we were just having friendly chats. His daughter was born in June 2007 at Ninewells Hospital and he was living with his parents in Malabe – Hokandara North,” she recalled.
In October 2007, he was sent to Norway to work on their project. That was how this all happened; maybe he was missing home so much that he kept on chatting to me — whenever he was online. Then he began to telephone me from there and ask me out. I was avoiding him at the beginning but he did not take ‘no’ for an answer.
Then Amali gave up – or gave in – and agreed.
“That is when he came down in December 2007,” said Amali.
While all this was brewing, Amali’s parents were looking out for marriage proposals for their only daughter. They had wanted the best for their child and hence wanted to get the kindest and steadiest person on the list. “We have given her every comfort, never raised a hand even when she was a child and we wanted her married to a man who would look after her, wipe away her fears and cherish her,” said her parents who went on to say that they wanted to close their eyes in peace only after their daughter had settled down.
“When I told him about the proposals, he said that we must continue our relationship till then and promised to release me thereafter. But when I told him that there was a boy who was interested in me, he was not very happy about it,” recalled Amali.
“Our first date was on December 12, 2007 in a room at Royal Palms Beach Hotel, Kalutara. He picked me up from the MC public car park at about 8.30 am. When we went to the hotel, to his surprise the manager was the husband of his wife’s best friend. He gave us a good room and a discount too. After talking a great deal, we got physically intimate for the first time. He had removed his wedding ring in the car. I didn’t notice this. It was in the evening when we came back to the car that he told me that he did so because he felt guilty. It was late when he dropped me home that evening.
“Then it went on and on. The next week he took me to a karaoke club called Happenings. He had a beer and I had a soft drink. He dropped me home in the evening. Our office year-end party was on December 21, 2007. He said that there was not a minute that he can spend without me. He said he wanted to go together with me. So he picked me from the 7th Avenue Salon at Galle Face Hotel and went to a room in Mount Lavinia. It was at about 6.30pm that we went to the venue, he dropped me at Colpetty junction and I took a trishaw.
“On December 24, 2007 he wanted to meet me again. He came to Colombo to pick me as he was in Negombo in his wife’s house. He told me that he had told his wife that he was going to the leasing company to attend to some matter. We went to a room in Colombo 5 and thereafter had lunch at KFC at Majestic City. He got me a gift — a purple coloured blouse from Mondy’s.
“On December 27, 2007, he wanted to pick me from Colombo as he was coming from Negombo. Thereafter he dropped me at the office. On January 1, 2008 he came to the Infant Jesus Church with me for the mass which was at 7.30am and went to office after separating. Kasun is a Sinhala Buddhist and I am a Catholic, yet he would always come to church with me. During the relationship, Kasun told me that he cannot live without me and begged me to do a diploma so that I can apply for Australian Skilled Migration. He forced me and insisted that he would pay for the course. “So I began a PR diploma at the Ladies College Vocational Training Center in February 2008. He did not pay for the course (I paid for it) but I did not complete this study as I began to realise that the Australian plan was fake. Sometimes he seemed so obsessed with me that he would say ‘let’s go away together somewhere.’ He didn’t even think of his baby at that time. At times like this I would point out that it will be very unfair on his child. Then he would say that he wants to give me a baby too and begged me not to say ‘yes’ to any of the marriage proposals,” said Amali.
“March 10th, 2008 was my birthday so he took me to a room in Mount Lavinia and then went for dinner to Siam House where he gave me a Titan watch as a gift. March and April too were studded with days spent together.”
“On May 10, 2008 we went to Blue Waters Hotel in Wadduwa to spend the day and I paid for this outing through my AMEX card. He dropped me at home in the evening. On May 24, 2008 we went to Villa Ocean View Hotel in Wadduwa. Kasun paid. June, July and August too were filled with days spent together in hiding. Kasun had to hide it all from his wife and Amali had to hide it from her parents.
“In August I gave him Rs. 30,000 as he seemed upset that he was unable to pay the lease on his car. He promised to return the money which I obtained from my HSBC Classic Card (cash). From August 5 to September too there were many days they spent together. On September 26, 2008 he wanted 30,000. He told me that he had to pay an advance on a house he was taking on rent in Battaramulla. I pawned my pair of bangles and bracelet at People’s Bank, Liberty Plaza for this. He met me at Crescat for lunch and took the money. I lost my pair of bangles for good. On the 27th of September, he wanted to buy a TV from Abans Welisara with my AMEX credit card but up to now he has not paid a cent. My card is being declined now.
“He wanted to buy a DVD player from Siedles so he used my HSBC Classic Card. He also obtained a Dialog dongle using my name for which he has not paid the bill. The bill has accumulated to Rs. 9,000. He was also taking me to various rooms in and around Colombo. October 19, 2008 we went to Club Hotel Dolphin to spend the day to celebrate his birthday which was on October 16th. I got him a white gold ring with a diamond as a gift (which he later pawned). I got a cake for him too and it did surprise him a great deal. I paid for the whole outing.
“In October he begged me to obtain a company loan of Rs. 100,000 which he wanted. It was to be deducted from my salary for 15 months,” alleged Amali. On November 18, 2008 he wanted Rs. 30,000 to pay his car lease. I pawned my bangles at Swarnamahal Pawning Center in Colombo (he never paid me back this money). December 22, 2008 was our office year-end party. He wanted to spend time with me and go together. We went to a room in Mount Lavinia and went for the party at about 6.30 p.m.
“On December 24, 2008 I pawned my chain for Rs. 18,000 and gave Kasun the money as he said that he was in urgent need of cash to deposit in his HSBC card account. He did not pay this money. My father redeemed this in February 2010 for Rs. 25,000 because the interest had accumulated. On January 1, 2009 we opened a joint account at the Commercial Bank branch in R. A. De Mel Mawatha with a deposit of Rs. 5000. The bank book was taken away from me by his wife. I have slips which proves the deposit. It now has 1000. Rs. 4000 was taken by him.
“He told me that his father was in hospital and wanted Rs. 60,000 to pay the bill at Oasis, so I gave him the money from my savings. Later he obtained another Rs. 15,000 pleading that he had to pay for his HSBC card in January 2009. On January 15, 2009 he wanted me to buy him a laptop and promised to pay back the money. So I bought it through my HSBC Gold Card from a shop in Unity Plaza (the laptop cost about Rs. 95,000). Rs. 8,000 was the monthly installment for the laptop from HSBC, but he didn’t pay. He also wanted me to get a Dialog TV connection and begged me, promising that he will pay it every month. (But it never happened and I paid for it, but when I was unable to, I had it disconnected. The bill is now Rs. 15,000)
“On January 21, 2009 we went to watch Madagascar 2 at the MC cinema. On the same day he wanted Rs. 35,000 in cash, taken from my HSBC Gold Card. I gave this money to him. In January he wanted Rs. 25,000 to pay for his PMP exams so I gave him my Gold Card. Then he wanted to register for the BCS too for which he begged for my card. March 21, 2009 we went to Kani Lanka to spend the day. This I paid from my HSBC Gold Card. He dropped me home after that. “April 3, 2009 we went for lunch to Siam House as I was going to India with my family. While I was there he telephoned me every day on the Indian number that I had. We returned on April 11, 2009. On April 15, 2009 we went to Hibiscus Hotel in Kalutara and I paid for the outing through my HSBC card.
“He asked me for my bonus of Rs. 20,000 with which he bought a printer for his house. In the meantime, he opened a company. He used my credit cards to host certain activities at the beginning. He said he would give me a job there but I later learnt that his wife was the CEO of that company. I printed business cards for him as senior software architect and operations manager. I helped him get a company secretary to register his company. I also typed the wording for his web pages as well. “On April 24, 2009 he said that his rented house was robbed and the new laptop which I bought was also stolen. On April 26, 2009 we went to Lihiniya Sea View Hotel in Mount Lavinia and later on he dropped me home. May 4, 2009 I pawned my chain for Rs. 42,000 and got Rs. 40,000 from my father’s savings and gave Kasun to buy another new laptop, which he said he will pay back ‘little by little.’
“But he never did. It was my father who redeemed the chain in September 2009. And the outings continued; from one hotel room to another, Kasun took me, promising me many things.”
On October 4, Amali was ill. She had been feeling ill since September. After a scan, she was told that she was seven weeks pregnant. She informed Kasun of their baby on that very day. He did not want to believe it. They had never used any precautions, but had been safe. First it had been a plea, to abort the baby. Then the threats came. “I was determined not to abort the baby as I was so in love with Kasun that I did not want to kill his baby,” said Amali.
“On October 5, 2009 Kasun and I went out and we had a long chat. I agreed to abort but I could not make myself do so. I told him that there are convents and that I will live in one of the convents till the baby is born and thereafter find a way to keep the baby. He agreed to this suggestion and said he will pay for everything. I found a contact at the Nayakakanda Convent.”
In the meantime, Amali was asked to take a course of injections to stop some bleeding. “Kasun gave me the money for this treatment. He also came with me on October 20, October 28, and November 3, 2009.” “On November 7, 2009 we went to meet the sister in charge at Nayakakanda Convent regarding my stay. Kasun said that he was my cousin and the sister said that a father’s name on the baby’s birth certificate is very important to which he agreed. The sister didn’t know that he was the baby’s father. We told her that I will come there in January 2010 as I was working till December 31, 2009 as I had to pay the company loan which I obtained in October 2008.
“On November 12, 2009 Kasun got me an appointment to see a VOG at Asiri Medical. Kasun came along, but on the way back, he somehow got mad at me and dropped me miles before my house. It was 10pm. I had to walk all the way home as there were no trishaws at the time. Thereafter, on November 18. 2009 he came to some place close to my house and took me to Wattala Hemas to see the VOG doctor. On November 27, 2009 we went to Platé studio to take a photo so that I will be able to show my baby his father in the future.
“On December 5, 2009 was the office cricket match. The day before the match he said that his wife wants to come so he will not be coming too and asked me not to turn up for the match. That same evening a colleague told me that Kasun and his wife came for the match and played together. On December 6, 2009 we went to Lihiniya Sea View Hotel in Mount Lavinia and I told him to get me an annex. He was to get one in May 2010. “So get it in January,” I told him. On January 8, 2010 he took me to Hemas Wattala to get an anti tetanus injection. On January 21, 2010, in the evening, we went to Wattala Hemas to see the VOG doctor and then we went for dinner and he dropped me home.”
Meanwhile, the neighbours began to talk about Amali’s protruding stomach. Soon, her mother too began to question her in alarm. The last thing her mother expected to hear was that her daughter was pregnant. She just thought that the office job was the cause for the daughter to lose her lovely figure. Truly it was the office job that had given her this protruding belly. Her unhappy parents began to plead with her to tell them who the father of her baby is. There was much fire and heartache at their home in Colombo. They told her that they could not keep her at their family home in this condition. “I never told them who the father was. In desperation, my father arranged for me to stay at Salvation Army in Punchi Borella.
January 25, 2010 Kasun picked me from Mount Lavinia Hotel where I had gone for a wedding and he dropped me at home.
“On February 1, 2010 he has paid an advance for an annex in Rajagiriya at a lady doctor’s house. He took me to show the place. I shifted to this annex on February 2, 2010. I bought my clothes and some kitchen appliances. Kasun too came there on his own. I told my parents that I am going to live alone till the baby is born. I believed that Kasun would stand by me as I did for him and will do justice for his child. He told me often that I had helped him so much and that and he could never forget me nor abandon me, for he will not be able to live with his conscience after that,” said Amali.
“He bought me a bed, mattress and some food stuff that I can make instantly as we didn’t have a gas cooker and said that we will buy one next week,” said Amali. There were several days in February when Kasun spent many hours with Amali. And so it went on, with him visiting her when he felt like it and not visiting her when he felt like it or when he was not in the mood.
“On March 2, 2010 the doctor who owned the annex wanted us to come to her lawyer to sign the lease agreement for the annex. Kasun was present to sign as it was in his name. I signed as the witness. He paid an advance of Rs. 70,000 (the monthly rent was Rs. 7,000) — he paid Rs. 35,000 in February and Rs. 35,000 in March and paid Rs. 7000 for the month of February 2010. The Agreement was signed for two years.
“On March 4, 2010 when I resigned from my job, he promised to pay my loans at Commercial Bank and Nations Trust Bank, even though all the credit cards were over the limit and nothing was paid. “He promised to pay the loans, specially the loan obtained from Commercial Bank as it involved two guarantors. So I reminded Kasun of this in the morning when he called me on his way to work. He used to call me on his way to work and on his way back for two years and three months.
“But suddenly he was angry. I called his office too as he didn’t answer the mobile and he was angrier. Suddenly he called me back and threatened me that he is going to ‘finish’ all this as this is a big headache for him, and that I am blackmailing him.
“He telephoned the lady doctor and told her that I am not his wife and that what he had told her earlier was a big lie and that he is married and has a three year old daughter and that I was blackmailing him.
“The doctor arrived at my doorstep to ask me whether what Kasun is saying is true. I told her the whole story. She went upstairs to give him a telephone call and someone entered my annex. It was Kasun and his wife. They assaulted me mercilessly. It was the wife who beat me unmercifully, while Kasun watched with his hands folded. She told me that I am carrying my boss’s baby. I was seven months pregnant at the time.
“When I fell on the ground, his wife continued to kick me. The glass from the photographs she had broken was embedded in my arms and face. She broke my mobile phone, my digital camera and my video camera. She hit me on my head with a bag.
“I hear her voice prophesying that I will get a child with a monkey face. I staggered out and telephoned my parents. I could not stop crying. I was their baby and they could not bear to hear my cries; they could not bear to see my tears. They took me to the Salvation Army in Borella. I could not sleep the whole night through as I was worried about my future. I could not believe the way Kasun had changed. I could not stay at the Salvation Army; I wanted my parents…”
Amali and her parents visited the Maradana Police Station on March 5, 2010 where they made a formal complaint. She spent that night at Salvation Army and then on March 6, her parents accompanied her to the annex where she packed up her clothes.
“My parents could not take me home in this condition. I stayed in various homes and did heavy work and slept on the floor. I could not bear it and my parents could not bear it. On March 17, 2010 my father made a complaint with the Women and Children’s Bureau and took me back home.”
Today, Amali lives with her parents. Her daughter Shanny will be four months old on the 16th. Kasun never visited them. He denies the relationship, he denies paternity. That is the end of the love story. Amali cries softly every night and above all her cries is the crying of her baby daughter. Amali is aching to get her baby a birth certificate which she cannot get, because the baby cannot be given a surname. This appeal is to every professional, every housewife, every man and every woman to help her overcome the pain and make amends. “I never became a bride or dressed as one. I never had a happy pregnancy. Each day and night was filled with uncertainty and tears. Today, I am struggling to bring up my daughter.
“I love her so much and know how much my parents must love me. My heart and my very being is filled with anguish at the sorrow, shame, worry and heartache I have brought upon my parents who have brought me up just the way I am bringing up my daughter – sleepless nights, barely time to eat and drink. The true love that Kasun professed never existed. It was my parents who has always loved me and always will, come what may,” cries Amali.
The loans are hanging over her head. Her father, a senior citizen, has to find the money to pay back the loans; Amali cannot work anymore. There is no one to give her any money.
As she hushes her baby, there are bank officials and money lenders visiting her and sending her letters. She is desperately on the lookout for legal advice, for help and for friends.
Amali has made a mistake. There are many who will say “I told you so” and others who will say “serves her right” – but let us look beyond and help this mother and baby. Let us look even further into the hearts of this family and help the parents of Amali who have to look after their daughter, who has brought home another daughter.
*Names changed to protect the identity of individuals