While the nation debates about the boons and banes of demonetization, there lies a section of society unperturbed by this mayhem- a section whose major concern is to provide two square meals for themselves and their family, a section for whom proper sanitation conditions and educational facilities is still a dream. Shonali, a twenty-five-year-old female who works as a domestic help in four houses hails from this section.
She was only nineteen when her parents married her off. As a child, she was never sent to school as her parents thought education was redundant for a girl. Also, they were too poor to send all of their five children to school.
“I didn’t know what was happening. They said he was well off, working in a factory. He said he loved me and would keep me happy’, she says when asked about her marriage.
Two years later he fell in love again and brought a new woman home. Hence, Shonali was forced return back to her father’s house. However this time she had two kids with her- a boy and a girl. For all these years she was living under the shade of his father or husband but now she had to fend for her children. There were times when she contemplated suicide but the innocent faces of her children compelled her to immediately dismiss it.
At that point, her mother worked as a domestic help in few houses. Therefore, even she started working as a domestic help.
“They did no wrong. Hence, they didn’t deserve any of it. I was devastated but I had to fight for them. The lady whom I worked for at that point helped me a lot. I filed a divorce against him after few months and he was forced to provide me with compensation.”
What is intriguing about Shonali is that she has an indomitable spirit. She’s got her parents and kids to fend for but she’s an ever smiling one, a happy soul.
“There’s no use of crying over spilled milk. I’ve put my kids in school. I want them to work in a big office and earn money. I’ll not get my daughter married unless she wants to”, she says.
When I asked her if she was facing any problems now, she said, “Life is not always made of roses. But every problem has a solution. I work in four houses now. Most of my employees are good though few of them misbehave with me at times. But I’ve learned to ignore.”
It’s inspiring how in spite of facing so much, Shonali doesn’t shy away from dreaming.
“The world is a cruel place”, she says, ”But there are good people too.”
If we imbibe a little bit of Shonali in us, we’ll be so well off. Won’t we?
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