Stories of the common people
I love listening. I love listening to stories, especially stories told from the not so suave people I see walking around me every day. One such day, I got an opportunity to dig into lives of such everyday heroes, mostly women. They help you understand the verbose we make in our lives compared to the rustic, simple yet courageous lives they live. I have here in this article compiled 5 such stories; to give you hope, to broaden your understanding of courage and to think of those drivers, sweepers, laborers differently.
A lady driver and a single mother.
“I met Sahjad when I was just 21. We spent 2 months talking to each other over the phone and it was like an ‘unseen love’ already, the shortest someone would take to fall for someone, after which we met for the first time at a festival. Right after 3 days, we were married. He was an electrician and I never really aspired to work because he earned around RS 1500/- a day, which was sufficient. After few months of our marriage I got pregnant. It was 8 months pregnant when uncertainty taped my shoulders and left me broken; my husband died in an accident. Falling in love with him was the best thing that had happened to me and that was taken away from me in no time. I was born with a baby girl and I had no will inside me to foster her. I would lock myself in a room, cry for hours without doing anything. This went on for 4 months. I had a big responsibility on my shoulders along with a fear lingering in my head about our future. But, I guess life has everything planned for us! Through an NGO I got to know about an initiative called Driver-ben(women) where they teach you how to drive and help you get employed. My mother was keen on me doing this but I was so afraid! This city is so big, I had never even touched a two-wheeler, and a four-wheeler was just out of my league! But the people at Driver-Ben(women) were so supportive; they understood my story and motivated me to stand on my two legs. I did learn how to drive; in fact, I got my license in just 1 and a half month! I brought sweets for everybody that day; happiness had knocked on my door after a long time. I am so confident about driving now. I work for the whole day and my family supports me fully. I do not want to give my father the burden of having me and my daughter at their house. I want to work and give Seju- my daughter 7-10 lakhs so she can study and grow up to be a good citizen. I thought I had lost everything but I had a new purpose in my life already- SEJU. I just want to earn for her now, she is the fairy of my fairytale life and I want to make her a castle. I got a high paying job in Uber already, I start this Monday so, the dream is not very far away.”
Single progressive mother, bread-earner of the house “My husband got a heart attack 4 years back, he is bedridden now and since then it was my responsibility to earn for the house and foster my daughter. I do 2 jobs in one day. I teach kids in the morning and cook at seva cafe in the evening, I love both the jobs! The tough part about doing all of this alone was parenting. I was observing the outside world and I knew I had to prepare my daughter for it and after all this time, I think I did. She is so bold! Once she was travelling on the local bus, a conductor touched her without consent, she made a scene right there in the bus. At dinner later that night, all the family
members have a ritual to share the day, we laughed about it with pride. I was so proud of her smartness. Oh, and you know? She even paid her own college fees by working in the income tax department. Her walk and talk are so bindass! She has her own ways of dealing with life! When I stress about her, she tells me, ‘If my mom can do 2 jobs at a time why can’t I earn and do college at the same time?’ Everybody around us asks me when she’ll get married but she wants to make a name for herself before marriage and I am okay with it. Both of us are the earning machines of the house, unlike the other households where the male earns. I share instances of our relationship in the school I teach and I also want them to realize that the outside world would give them a lot of money but what would be the use of all that success if you can’t share it with your parents? Thus you should always respect them. Like my daughter respects me! I love her more than anything.”
3) MEENA BEN
Teacher, patriotic parent “As a mother, the things I love the most in this world are both of my son. One of them is in 12th right now and the second one passed away when he was just 4, a fever caught him. After his death I joined a child help center called Anganwadi because I wanted to serve kids, I see my own son in the hearts of all the children there and that is how I keep him alive in my life. My second son is so ambitious for our country, once we were watching some news related to terrorism in our country, he looks at me and tells me,’ ‘I want to kill every one of them, how can they even look at our country and hurt it!’ He wants to join the Indian army. I was scared of the thought of him entering the army initially, but then I listen to his wills; filled with a fervency to fight for his country, I observe his eyes showing bravery and grit; I then feel proud giving this country a young and brave son. And on the other hand, if I don’t support him who else will? He is actually responsible in making me mentally strong; he gives examples of the strong hearted mother of Bhagat Singh and explains how she supported him until his last breath. I guess it’s not always the mothers who make their child a strong human, sometimes it is the other way round too.”
Image Courtesy: Manasvi Shah, Manas Daxini