“Thank you for calling Kerala Power! My name is Rehan, how may I assist you today?”
“You fu*king idiot I have been fu*king calling you guys for 2 days I don’t have power at home you di*k a piece of shit I will take your job away you stupid fu*king idiot…”
“My apologies ma’am, may I know-“
“…I can’t sleep it’s hot here Air Condition not working I give a damm to your recorded phrase which is same I am hearing for last two days everyone telling power supply would be restored soon but still no progress you motherfu*ker I need it now I am not going to provide my Customer ID I am not repeating the same fu*king issues again..”
That was my first call of first day of my Call-Centre career.
During the training, everything appeared to be smooth. Our usual tasks involved collecting few information from the customer and logging complaints into the system—simple enough. However, this situation was entirely unexpected and not covered in our training materials. The lady continued to shout and hurl abuse, showing no inclination to listen. Her words flowed incessantly without any pause or space, leaving me no opportunity to interject or respond.
“…my husband is a lawyer I am working in municipality I am going to fu*king take action now enough is enough..”
My hand trembled with fear. The computer mouse refused to respond as I intended. I felt utterly lost, unsure of what to do. I just did not want to lose the job.
I grew up in a small remote village in Kerala, India. It was a place without electricity, internet or mobile phones. As the evening approached, the world around us would become incredibly still, except for the soothing sounds of crickets and night birds.
My father worked tirelessly as a railway hawker and a tricycle rickshaw puller. He would work extra hours to feed us and ensure we received education that he could not get. He wanted to ensure that we wouldn’t be left in the dark when we received a letter from the local post office, or have to search for someone who could read it for us.
In the mornings, my mother and I would join him in a small plot of land where we grew leafy vegetables. Sometimes, I would carry the produce on my head to the nearby market and sell them on the roadside.
In our village, life was a struggle for not just us but for most people. A family that could afford to have chicken once or twice a month was considered well-off. Even eggs were considered a luxury for us. My mother, father and I used to catch small, tiny fishes and crabs from the nearby river, and those meals brought us immense joy. During occasions and festivity, we would split a one-egg omelette into four pieces, and my younger sister would carefully look at my portion to make sure it wasn’t bigger than hers. Those days were filled with simple beauty.
As I began attending high school, our situation improved somewhat. I had a kerosene lamp to study at night. Our home, constructed from bamboo and clay, had a better roof that kept the rain out of our sleeping area, unlike before. We could afford to have rice for two meals a day.
However, my dreams reached beyond these improvements. I aspired to a different life—a life where my father wouldn’t have to pull a rickshaw, and my mother wouldn’t have to work for others.
I achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first person in my family to graduate from university. As soon as I graduated, my first goal was to secure a job and uplift my family from our challenging circumstances.
My father never pressured me to find a job. Instead, he continuously encouraged me to focus on my studies and supported me in every way he could. However, in his eyes, there was an unspoken expectation—a hope that his son would eventually lead them to a better life, lifting them from the circumstances in which we found ourselves.
Initially, my plan was to get a job and simultaneously pursue higher education. I was deeply interested in journalism and creative media.
In 2008, after completion of my degree, with the aim of finding a job quickly, I landed a position at a call centre. However, I soon realized that balancing my studies with the job was incredibly challenging. The job involved rotational shifts, meaning there were no fixed working days or hours. We often had to put in additional hours or work on different days based on the workload. Affording further education was also out of reach, as my salary was just Rs. 3500 per month (approximately $80 then, $42 now), while journalism courses costed around Rs. 35,000, ten times my salary.
My parents believed I was living comfortably in the city. I didn’t want them to know that I was surviving on one meal a day, sleeping on the floor of a small rented dormitory, all in an effort to save money to send back home. I knew this was just the beginning, and I hoped that over time, my salary would increase.
With time, my salary began to improve. However, my social life remained limited because I didn’t go out, attend Friday parties, or go on outings. Every bit of free time I had, I dedicated to studying how I could start a small business or find additional sources of income.
On weekends, instead of socializing, I went to railway stations and orphanages with small gifts, candies and chocolates for underprivileged children. I connected with their lives, reflecting on my own childhood experiences. A small seed was planted within me during those days—a dream of one day starting an NGO to work for nature and promote education for all.
Turn of Life
In 2012, I embarked on a new chapter when I joined India’s largest tech company. It was here that my real journey truly began.
After a few months of working there, I found myself drawn to a girl in my same project but different floor. She was a beautiful girl with an enchanting smile and an aura of genuine decency. She stood out from the crowd of modern city girls.
Our conversations started as we shared rides home in the same company car, taking the same route each day. Eventually, we exchanged phone numbers; and I saved her contact as “Barbie” on my little 2nd-hand keypad phone that I purchased from Quikr.
As we exchanged text messages, it became evident that she was equally attracted to me. She asked if I used WhatsApp, as her friends preferred it for easier communication. I was unfamiliar with WhatsApp at the time and told her I would check if my phone supported it. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that it required a smartphone, which I didn’t have.
All our communications and conversations happened through text messages. It did not progress to phone call. Whenever I tried to call her, her number would be engaged or I would be placed on a waiting list. If it did ring, she would decline the call and later explain that she was with her dad or family, which made it challenging to have phone conversations. She was not keen on meeting during the weekends because she wanted to spend time with her parents.
I respected her wish. However, I also let her know that it is important that we meet and know each other better.
One day, she suggested that we meet during lunchtime in the office cafeteria. I agreed, but her condition was that we would go separately—she would go alone, and I would go alone. Even when returning, we would go back separately. I agreed.
At the same time, I checked with her if she felt comfortable around me, to which she reassured me that there was nothing to worry about. She explained that she needed some time before we could go out together or spend more time together. Given her background in a very conservative family, she was concerned about potential rumours and gossips which she wanted to avoid.
She would send me texts before heading to the office, when leaving the office or wherever she happened to be; and I reciprocated. Over time, she became quite possessive and didn’t like me talking to any girl, not even a female manager. She also asked if I had a Facebook or Instagram account, perhaps suspecting that I could use them to connect with other girls. However, I didn’t have either of those accounts.
She would decide what dress should I wear or when and where should I go. It was getting confusing for me at times if I was getting restricted in my choices or it was pure love and care from her. Despite the challenges, everything still felt beautiful to me when she smiled or shouted in anger ‘Don’t talk to me!’ and soon came back asking if I had breakfast in the morning. The world was filled with more joy when she was around and I continued to find satisfaction in being able to support my parents as well. I dreamt of a small world with her in my family.
One day, she appeared very sad and upset. Her mother required an operation for a teeth-related issue, and the cost was around Rs. 20,000. She mentioned that she had approximately Rs. 7,000 saved up but wasn’t sure if it would be enough to cover the operation. I felt a deep sense of responsibility to support her because her mother was like my own. However, my salary was only Rs. 16,000.
I asked her if around Rs. 12,000 would be helpful, and she replied that any amount would make a difference. The following month, when I received my salary, I gave her my entire salary, reserving only a few thousand for my own expenses. I informed my family that I could not send money that month as I had enrolled in higher studies and needed funds for that purpose. My parents were pleased with my decision.
In the following days, I mentally accepted her as my life partner and began covering all her expenses, whatever she needed.
I travelled hours in rainy days to bring her favourite foods from favourite restaurants. I was curious about those dishes as I had never heard of such dishes in my village. However, I bought the food only for her, not for me, to save money. Every time. And interestingly she also never asked me to join her at lunch whenver I got food for her.
She wanted a faster smartphone, I promptly bought her the latest Samsung model of her choice. If there was a dress she liked, I didn’t hesitate to get it for her. If she wanted one dress, I gave her 5. I was too much in love with her and her needs became mine. She often required cash for rent, travel, phones upgradation, gadgets and various other needs. She proposed that we open a joint bank account so that we could save together.
However, as I focused more on meeting her needs, my own financial situation started to deteriorate. I stopped sending money to my family, or even if I did, it was only a small amount. Yet, I never compromised when it came to fulfilling Barbie’s needs.
Throughout this time, we had never met in person, never touched each other’s hand and never spoken on the phone. I discussed with her where were we heading with our relationship. She said she needed some more time.
Whenever I hinted about my unhappiness with our relationship status, which was kept entirely hidden from the public, and questioned her why she wanted to keep our relationship secret after all this time, she would cry and ask me if I trusted her. I did trust her completely.
Hoping for a beautiful future together with her and my family, I continued to treat her as one should treat their partner. I never let her see the financial pressure I was under, to meet her needs; it was all for her happiness.
Unable to keep up with the financial demands, I eventually took out a personal loan. I bought her gold jewellery and fulfilled her other needs, all in the hope of winning her heart. Little did I know that it would become increasingly difficult to repay the personal loan instalments, as I had been spending all of my salary as well. It wasn’t always for her enjoyment or gifts; there were times when she needed urgent money for medical emergencies and other critical needs.
With this scenario, I had to take out another personal loan to repay the previous ones. It wasn’t a great idea, but it seemed necessary at the time to meet both her and my financial needs. I kept taking out immediate cash from credit cards too for sudden needs. The due amount started getting higher day by day. Still I hoped, things would sort out soon.
Approximately two years later, our seating arrangements changed, and we were both moved to the same floor. Her desk was now in front of mine, just a few bays away. One day, I asked her who she used to speak with on the desk telephone all the time. She explained that those calls were with customers and were relevant to her job.
Fair enough, but I was a little curious to know what kind of profile she was having since no other employees were making so many, and long calls from the desk. I had some idea about her project but did not know she was required to talk to the customers so much.
Given my background, I had no prior experience with complex relationships. In my village, relationships were typically simple and enduring, based on trust and a commitment to stand by each other for a lifetime. However, over the past few years, based on the experiences of colleagues and friends here in the city, I had begun to doubt myself whether I was in the right path.
I made the decision to access the call list of the telephone, fully aware that it might not have been the wisest choice. However, I was determined that if I was mistaken in my doubts, I would sincerely apologize to her.
As I examined the call list, I remained seated on my desk, expressionless, clueless, glancing at her; and she continued to smile at me as always, completely unaware of what I had found.
90% of the calls were to a specific number and it was almost identical to hers, with only the last digit being different. A few calls were made to her parents (I knew her dad’s phone number as I had sent money to his account before). I was determined to uncover the identity of the person who regularly received calls from her desk.
I decided to dial the number, posing as a sales representative offering a fantastic mobile recharge plan. I managed to obtain his name and address during the conversation. I also inquired if he wanted the offer to be applied to any other number as pair of numbers would come with free calls between the numbers, and not to my surprise, he provided Barbie’s phone number.
To cut the story short, I wanted to end the so-called “relationship” as she couldn’t explain her connection with the guy. However, she emotionally tied me to her with promises concerning her parents, buying some more time for her so that she could ‘settle everything’.
Things reached a breaking point when I discovered her Facebook profile anonymously, which was filled with numerous pictures of outings, social gatherings, parties, and travels with this guy. All of latest dates with tagging and captions. It was now abundantly clear.
After repeatedly seeking clarification from her, she finally admitted to being in a committed relationship with that guy and said she couldn’t continue with me. I had many questions, but I didn’t ask a single one. I simply asked her, “Why me?”
Her response was, “I don’t have any answers.”
While my eyes filled with tears, she appeared very normal and unchanged at her desk. It became increasingly difficult for me, as I was the person emotionally attached, not her. Meeting her everyday as previous was tough for me, hence I resigned from the project that very day and applied for a different one.
Even before my last day in the project, she didn’t hesitate to ask for cash for ‘genuine’ needs, and I gave it to her. By the time I left the project, I had accrued a debt of around $18,000.
The Debt Trap
I found myself paying EMIs from additional personal loans and using one credit card to pay off debt on another, which only increased my financial burden.
Desperate to reduce my debt, I took out multiple loans against credit cards and invested around $7,000 in Bitcoin in 2017, influenced by the belief that it was offering exceptionally high returns, as many people and friends claimed. Unfortunately, my investment peaked and then plummeted. By 2018, my initial investment had dwindled to one-sixth of its value, and I succumbed to the fear of missing out (FOMO) and exited the market.
When I left the tech company in pursuit of a better salary, I was burdened with around $26,000 in debt.
I tried various approaches to improve my financial situation, including investing in the stock market, day trading, cryptocurrency trading, digital marketing, and drop shipping. However, these endeavors often required high capital and didn’t succeed because I was chasing quick returns with small capital to pay off my debts, which only resulted in further accumulation.
Minimum due payments on credit cards caused the principal amounts to multiply, with penalties and charges pushing them to double or triple the original amounts.
In 2020, my world was shattered when my father succumbed to Covid complications, a loss made all the more devastating due to the inability to afford the staggering costs of premium hospital care, which soared to nearly $1000-$1500 per day. Despite the immense financial strain, I spared no effort in trying to secure the necessary funds, reaching out to friends for loans and heavily relying on credit cards to cover the mounting medical expenses in a moderate hospital. It still chases me that my father never saw a life beyond financial crunches, compromises on every happiness of life, and excessive hard work to find a life beyond that.
As I sit here, sharing my story with you, I find myself at a crossroads that I never imagined I’d face. My journey has been one of determination and dreams, but it’s also been filled with unexpected challenges that have left me in a precarious situation.
Today, I am carrying a debt of around $100k, including home loans, personal loans and overdue credit card balances.
Currently I work in a global giant banking institution and I earn around $1200 a month. I can afford an EMI of $1000 with remaining $200 to run my family, somehow. However, my current minimum dues + EMIs are around $3000 per month. I am missing multiple payments, minimum dues etc. on my cards and loan accounts. I am unable to pay for basic needs such as utility bills, gas connection bill etc.
The relentless calls, abuses & threats from collection agents have become a constant backdrop to my life. It’s a situation that gnaws at my self-esteem and leaves me feeling trapped.
When I discussed with banking agents, it became evident that I would be able to afford EMIs if my current burden comes down to around $75k.
I tried to sell off dad’s small land but there is no buyer even with a very tiny valuation.
I’ve also explored freelancing opportunities on platforms like Fiverr, Freelance and many others. However, the competitive landscape and the rise of artificial intelligence have made it increasingly challenging to secure projects that offer sustainable income.
Somehow I took sometime to write my story here, but the toughest part is still left.
Would you be my Santa Claus?
I am 37 and I kept dreaming I could a lot in life. But gradually I am giving up. I created this page without my real identity because I did not want to be bullied and become victim of over-sympathy and advices from all known group. I did not want to embarrass my family on how and where I am standing.
And I fully agree that no one is responsible for my current situation, it is me who was an idiot as the lady in my first job shouted on the call. Probably I realized it very late.
It is with a sense of vulnerability and humility that I turn to you, dear readers, for support. I understand the gravity of my request and the courage it takes to ask for help. If you’ve journeyed with me this far and resonate with my story, please consider becoming a beacon of hope in my life.
I am compromising every moments on my foods, my health issues – just so reduce expense.
This is not a cancer or thalassemia treatment campaign which requires urgent attention too; this is purely on a hope to live normally again. My target is to reduce my burden down from $100k to around $75k which is a very high ambition, I know. GoFundMe is not supported in India hence, thought of creating this page.
If you wish to be my Santa Claus, you may contribute whatever amount you feel comfortable with… $5 $10..every amount counts. Your support will allow me to refocus on my job and personal life, inching closer to the day when I can breathe freely once more. I am aiming to return all your pennies in next 5 years if you don’t mind with that. In case you would not be comfortable with a return, I can further donate your amount to needy people around the globe.
In return for your generosity, I offer my skills and expertise. Regardless of the amount you contribute, I’m here to assist you to the best of my abilities. I can –
- Create Awesome Microsoft Excel Dashboard that would help you track your business
- I can train your staffs on Microsoft Excel
- Create business presentation (PPT)
- Design poster and banner for your companies/campaigns
- Edit your photos
- Make beautiful WordPress websites for your business
- Do on-page SEO for your WordPress websites.
- Can translate content from English<>Bengali
- Set up your YouTube channel, strategy, create awesome Thumbnail etc.
Given that I have a full-time job, I cannot contractually work for you as that would led me to my current job related complications. However, I shall use my off time to voluntarily help your business whenever you need.
Or if you don’t want any service, that is also fine, don’t feel bad if you wish to pick any service.
This post is created with anonymous details of mine, however feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any details to verify the authenticity of this page such as burden documents, my identity or a video call etc. If you wish to help me in any other way, you may also reach me out on the same email address.
I am sure you have trusted many people in your life, would you trust on this stranger guy for once?
Even if you are not interested to contribute, sharing this page to your known circle would be a great help.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and for considering being my Santa Claus in this challenging chapter of my life. Your kindness has the power to transform my future, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
If you don’t like this page, please ignore. Request you not to Spam or Report as I have been continuously spammed by life and looking to move to the Primary Inbox with help from some kind people around the globe 😊