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
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! Patna
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!