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Sunday, June 5, 2011


As the parched Earth looks up at the sky for mercy; we tend to get restless by the heat of the season. The story remains the same----unbearable humidity, profuse sweating and drained energies. Life becomes absolutely paralysed and we pray to God every single day (rather curse him many times) for it to rain. The clouds too seem to elude us and show their importance as though they have also turned out to be some Sarkari babus who need “some motivation” to do their work!

But when it rains, it seems heaven is pouring (wish with heaven raining, we have some saints falling on ground too; we seldom see them on Earth now)! When rains start, they are all the same; be it back home in Haryana or in this strange city where I have come to work (Not that I am a stranger to Patna anymore!). Its all the same, same freshness in the surroundings, newness to life…………The trees washed up with leaves all smiling like an urchin who has had bath after a “few” days! The satisfied fragrance of Earth which soaks itself in the love of Clouds; all of the cracks healed up in one big wash. Its all the same, same filling up of puddles on the road, muddy streets and garbage stinking at the sides of the road (a sight to watch that sure is!).

I peep out of the window and smile to myself. It is raining! As the thought brings with it the relief from heat, it also brings along a line of thought! What to wear, how to reach office etc. White is a complete No…….who is going to wash off those mud stains????? Next comes the sandals-I cant wear my favourite shoes or socks now! My dear laptop too wears a ‘raincoat’ as it gets ready to go to work. As I hurriedly enter into an auto rickshaw, water drips from the edge of its roof and I am wet from one side (seems like I have jumped half into a swimming pool). I reach office later than usual, taking rain as an excuse!

On my way I see men with garbage trucks lifting the garbage from the sides, lest it should stink like dead! Vegetable sellers can be seen sitting on the pavements with colourful umbrellas and plastic sheets to shield from rain. That is how we adapt! Adaptation is what brings challenge to life. Had we not decided to adapt, we would have to still live as cavemen! Rain or Monsoon, adaptation is the way to life in this competitive yet beautiful world!

The Beginning or the END?

Everyone loves happy endings. What if life starts with “The End”? Usually in bollywood movies, the guy and the girl finally get married is when we get up with a satisfied smile. But life is not a bollywood movie, it is just life! And my life was such!

I was born in sub-urbs of Patna where I grew up among 7 brothers and sisters; I being the eldest of them all. The whole house revolved around my demands (and there were a thousand demands on me too!) I was the one who was consulted for any future plans, style of clothing or even the menu! I used to be brilliant in studies and games as well. My father would often say that once I grew up, I would change the world!

But the reality of life is different. I was only in 8th when I was married off (For my own future, none consulted me!). My pleas would not find any place in my dad’s ears (who was otherwise the most caring person in my world!) That was the day when I sensed that my life is nothing different than that of a refugee. My ‘home’ from birth was no more than a shelter till I become capable of making one of my own (whether I was capable of building a life at that young age is another thing!)

My new home was in a remote village called ‘Tangrela.’ It was as though I was transferred back into time by a time machine. The ringing of wedding bells was weird for me. I would see very little of my husband and my life revolved around mother-in-law and sister-in-laws (which I could call them ‘in-love’ but they were anything other than that!) I was the young wife of youngest of 4 ‘married’ brothers and hence was destined to be most submissive. I once tried to break this submissiveness by reasoning with my eldest sister-in-law and was presented with a slap so tight that I now hear less from my left ear.

I would sit by the window all day and gaze at the girls going to school on bicycles. (that is one possession given by Nitish’s government that has changed the lives of young girls in Bihar). Something stirred inside me that one day when a young girl looked at me with pity! (Yes, the expression was that of sympathy for me.) I approached my husband to let me study further and was received with an answer “I am the youngest and cannot take such decisions on my own”. I assured him that I would convince everyone if he was with me. Next week was spent in pleading (read begging) my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws to let me study. There was the question of the loss of the household work which was accepted by me to finish before school time. Then came the question of my tuition fees, who would pay that? My father stepped in and took care of that (I told you he was a caring person for me)

Days went on and everyone in the house (including villagers would jest at me; a mother of 4 children attending school), but I believed in myself. I would sit in a corner at night (after completing ALL my duties and concentrate hard on my studies)

Today I have passed my matric examination and am working as Anganwadi worker in my own village. I don’t know about others but atleast I am proud of myself. There are several issues causing dissatisfaction in ICDS system-our own payment system, government pricing of the foods to be distributed, incentives and extra work bog us down. But then I find a unique happiness in looking into young eyes and feeling proud that I am making a difference in their lives. I may not have changed the world, but I surely have contributed my bit!