This was in January- 2009..
My maid is an illiterate woman from Bihar, Muslim by religion, but with relatively fair IQ for her being & upbringing. She is single- handedly bringing up her 5 kids & taken steps to ensure no more babies all by herself. In response to her act, the husband went absconding for good 2 years. It took her 2 sons & 1 daughter more after her 2 daughters to collect enough amount required for the medical process.
Her 1st daughter is 12 years of age; she herself being 25.. She was married at an age of 12 years & Nagina was born when she was all of 14 years..!! It sends cold chill down my spine each time I think about it. As a matter of respect, I have personally admitted all her kids to the nearby Government School & am funding for their education. At the moment this is what I can afford. This was after much counseling since Sonia wanted to get her daughter married off in the next year..!!
Her husband is a species of parasite. A rickshaw driver by occupation, he keeps himself drugged all the time. He says he doesn’t earn more than 10- 20 bucks & gives her nothing in terms of money. Even on days that he makes no penny (as he claims) he still manages with his dopes.. Only after much cribbing & fights (both physical & verbal), he has agreed to get her groceries whenever he earns ‘some money’, i.e., whenever.. He is back by 5-ish in the evening & keeps loitering around..
Sonia would tell me how her mother would lock her without food & water any day that she would manage to sneak out to the nearby pathhshala.. How she used to be beaten up by her father-in-law & was once even tried to be burnt alive upon finding out that she was trying to make her Election ID card; which she thankfully & successfully had by then. She now dreads going back to Bihar because she would be house- locked again literally, her daughters (all) would be married off the 1 st thing.. & a few more things; reading which would only reflect upon humiliation.
It is just a jist. It was tough for me to be able to pen whatever I have here.
It is a shame that we are trying to change the whole face by demolishing the so called illegal constructions & putting people to death- bed for some Games may be & yet are unable or probably un- willing to demolish such criminal activities still going on like some pious, religious practice. My heart bleeds whenever I get to hear what she has been through & still is being.
Serials like Balika- Vadhu & the likes, why cant the Authorities make it compulsory for all schools to view it half hour every day?? The people who they are intended for do not have the money for Cable connection; just when would our Society/ Responsible(s) realize it?? Instead, people who are already educated & understood are watching it like a Daily Soap & getting entertained.
Its time that sympathies be over & some action be taken. The kids are the ones who witness & learn the daily activities. Its them who would bring about a change in our community by watching the correct behaviors if they are made to i.e.,
An Year Later
- She gets to sit with me on the Table & have her food- not to mention the Table Manners..
- She has now learnt to wear outfits other than Suits & Sarees.
- She knows English Names for the Vegetables & Fruits & common household objects.
- Greets & wishes in English (being the international language across the globe)
- Actively fights back whenever her husband tries to beat her up..
- Has stopped giving her earnings to him..
- Sports a smart hairdo instead of long pigtail (literally)
Several times I had to run down to her place to save her from being beaten up to death or may be to console her kids because the husband would go absconding..
I am not willing to adopt her & give her an easy way out without realization; instead, she would have to fight back & do it all by herself
I HAVE PROMISED TO HER THAT IN COURSE, I WOULD STAND WITH & BY HER FOR ALL SHE NEEDS