The other day, as I was home alone with my two kids, I realised that how difficult it is for a single person to handle two little brats who are not even a quarter of their age!! My mother in law was out of town for a couple of days, husband was out of town for work and maid was on leave! And I was very confident that I will handle everything properly; the kitchen, the house, the kids and myself. But I guess I was living in a fantasy land, because when reality struck, it was a different scene altogether!! By the end of the day, everything was a mess! After I managed to put both my kids to sleep, and hubby also returned home in the night, I breathed a sigh of relief.
The next day, when the maid came, she was shocked to see the condition of the house! She asked me, “Kya hua yaha? Koi toofan aaya that kya?” (What happened here? Was there a storm?)
I told her, “Ha, toofan ke saath bhukamp bhi aaya tha..”(yes, there was an earthquake along with the storm too..)
And then I asked her that how did she manage to raise her kids alone. She was working with us for the last 20 years; and I knew that she had 4 kids- one girl and three boys. But I din’t know how hard she had worked to raise her kids to be what they were today. I actually saluted her after she was done with her story!
She got married at a very early age and was staying in a village near Karnataka. She got 4 kids, each after a gap of 2 years, the eldest one being a girl. But, when her husband lost his job and started abusing her, she left him. She then came to Mumbai, where she had some relatives. Her kids then were aged 8, 6, 4 and 2 respectively. She managed to get a shanty somehow using her relatives’ help. Then she started searching for work. She joined our house first and started with the housework. Gradually, she got more work. As she had saved up some money and with my mother in law’s help, she paid the rent for the shanty and enrolled her elder 2 kids in a local school.
When the eldest girl and boy would be in school, her 4 year old would be looked after by their neighbour, but she would keep her 2 year old son in her house only. I had asked her that why she din’t ask the neighbour only to look after him? But she said, that he’s too small and what if he runs out on the road. There’s so much traffic outside and the neighbours are already looking after one boy. So she told me, “Main uske ek pair ko rassi se baandh ke jaati thi..”(“I used to tie my son with a rope”) She then said that it was easier that way. The rope was long enough to help him move freely within the house. And he din’t understand how to remove the rope. She would go home in between her work and would feed him and check on him. Then, when her elder kids would return from school, they would look after him. This continued till the 4 year old was eligible for school too. Then, the youngest one would be looked after by the neighbour. After a couple of years, when all her kids would be at school, she increased her work and was able to earn more.
She told me, that her husband had come back to her after a few years and was asking for forgiveness. She did forgive him, but did not let him stay with her. He used to stay at some relative’s house.
She worked very hard to educate all her kids and that too all on her own and in a new city. Today, I can see the pride in her eyes when she tells me about her children. The eldest daughter runs a beauty parlour in the town where she stays with her husband and 1 year old son. The second and third son are married too and have kids and are working as executives in some company. The youngest is in college and wants to do MBA. Their socioeconomic status had catapulted from lower to middle class.
I then asked her that why does she work now. She can be at home and enjoy with her grandchildren. Again her answer surprised me. She says that since she has been working since so many years, she doesn’t like to sit at home. It is suffocating for her. She has reduced her work considerably and only works for us as my mother in law had helped her when she was in need. She says till she is fit and fine she will work. And she also says that she doesn’t want to be dependent on her children for her survival!
What an excellent example she has set! Hard work and determination can never fail. You always get results, if not sooner then later..
I had renewed respect for her after I came to know her entire story. And she really deserves a standing ovation! And I really applauded her for her courage and hard work!!
Author’s note: This post has first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.