Actress Alefia Kapadia, who plays Latika in TV show 'Pyaar Ka Dard Hai...Meetha Meetha Pyaara Pyaara...', was harassed on the road by a man who allegedly chased her car and heckled her. A single mother, she filed a FIR against him.
The stalker got arrested, but was later released on bail.
"I told him to go away. When he refused to listen I used my phone-camera. When I took pictures of the man on the road, I was thinking more of my son's safety than my own. But the minute I took his pictures, the man was livid.
"He parked his car diagonally in front of mine and marched towards my car. During that moment when he approached me, my heart skipped many beats. Was he approaching to harm me, my son and my friend who was with us? Was he going to pull me out of the car? Or was he going to snatch my camera? These thoughts ran through my head."
Alefia filed a complaint against him.
"I had to take some action. The way he was trying to intimidate me, chasing my car so expertly and confidently in the heavy traffic, it seemed like just another day of fun and games for him. I had to lodge an FIR against this man, so that he wouldn't try something like this again.
"The man, who harassed me and my son on the road, was arrested and let out on bail... I am keeping track of the proceedings," said the actress.
However, she is no stranger to male aggression as she was in an abusive marriage for several years until she opted out.
"I've been through this long and painful journey of being the silent sufferer when I was married. I learnt my lesson. I would never again remain quiet when violated.
"I am now out of the marriage. I am currently in the process of a very long, painful and traumatic divorce and custody battle over my son. But while it lasted, I went through tremendous verbal and physical abuse."
Because of her past experience Alefia won't take any kind of abuse from anyone.
"I know what it is like to take male aggression quietly... I don't want to fall into that trap again. That's why I couldn't let the incident on the road pass by. I had to take a stand for my sake and for the sake of all those women who are constantly harassed and abused at home and on the roads."
As a single mother Alefia's life is not easy. But she's enjoying her freedom.
"I feel like a free bird. Yes, it's difficult. My son's father is giving me hell. He wants to take away my son. Since he's financially sound, he can pay for the best lawyers. He keeps threatening me he'd do anything to get our son.
"Until a year back, he didn't care anything about our child. Suddenly he wants our son. But I've to tell you the incident on the road this week and the support I got thereafter has given me renewed strength and courage to fight for my child's custody," she said.
Alefia, who plays a negative character in "Pyaar Ka Dard...", says this is her first serial after marriage.
"I used to work before marriage. I even played the lead in a telefilm directed by Imtiaz Ali. Then after marriage, I moved to Dubai. I married into a family where working women were frowned at.
"It took a lot of courage for me to separate from my husband. He had my passport. He wouldn't let go of me or my son. I had to take the help of the Indian embassy in Dubai to get out of my husband's home and out of the country. My father had to come to Dubai to rescue me. As a parent I realize what he must have gone through."
She had to build her life and career from scratch.
"Now it's been two years since I came back. It took me a lot of courage to approach the television industry for work. Now I stay in South Mumbai. I am juggling my duties as a mother and a working woman. My parents have been extremely supportive through my ordeal," said Alefia.