On the Occasion of 71st Independence Day. The Day that has given us a true value of freedom, The day that has given us the right to be free, right to dream and to accomplish as well. Everyone has their own way of expressing the love towards their nation and definition of freedom. We 13 Bloggers are here with our version of patriotism. In a series of 13 blogs expressing their views for one common goal #FreedomToExpress.
Thank you, Ishieta for introducing me. She blogs at Isheeriahealingcircles She an amazing Tarot reader, a healer numerologist and a lovely soul.
As a part of this Blog to Freedom initiative. I am sharing a story today.
“Common get up you have a train to board at 10 am” Sarita shook me as this was her third attempt to wake me up. I was always a lazy head . “Here is your tea.” she kept tea and two Marie biscuit exactly as per the diet chart in front of me. I got up and Sarita came with my bag “Here is your bag with everything you may need for your two days trip” she turned and there was a small bag in her hand “this bag has all eatables, your medicines, your diet chart and a water bottle” she added fixing her beaming spectacles on her round nose. Sunlight falling on the corner of spectacles was adding extra glow to her face. “Take your medicine, eat as per diet chart, and please take some rest also, are you listening to me or not” she asked. I nodded and smiled. “I know, how will you take care of yourself in my absence” Sarita replied to my smile.
I was ready to leave for the Pune railway station, as per the advice of Sarita I picked my bags and medicine. Before leaving I wanted to say bye, so went to her room. Sarita was on her study desk and as expected was studying, she heard my steps and turned towards me said ” Bye Maa, Please take care of yourself at least for me.” I went ahead kissed hr forehead and replied “Love you so much who will believe me that there is 15 year old granny in my house, you too take care.”
I was on time and waiting for the train. Train crawled in the station and I boarded to my seat. I seated on seat number 21 and number 22 was vacant. My work trip to Amravati was special this time. Entire Nation will celebrate Independence Day on 15th August. We also planned something special for Our NGO girls.
A young looking girl came and sat near my seat, her seat number was 22. Girl was looking same age of sarita and she was wearing mangalsutra around her neck and sindoor on her forehead. I could not resist myself asking “Are you married, what’s your age?”. The girl gave me skeptical look and just replied “Yes”. Still my question was unanswered. She was trying to juggle in the seat and was looking here and there as if someone was may arrive, from where she was not sure. My phone Rang, it was Sarita I Was sure in my head this is reminder for medicine “Hello, Maa please take your BP medicine”.”Ok ok sure” I replied and hung-up the call.
“Did I disturb you” I asked my fellow passenger the young girl.”No, Its ok” she politely replied. I showed my phone’s wallpaper “See this is Sarita my daughter, it was her call and you know, you remind me of Sarita”. She smiled and was looking comfortable now.
“So,where are you going Amravati? ” I asked. “Yes, I am going to Amravati” she replied. “You work there” I asked her out of curiosity to understand her a bit more. “No, In the search of work, There is a branch of Astitva NGO which helps women to get education and work.” She added. “Oh ok” I smiled.
I opted to remain silent now and not to tell her about my NGO and my work as I wanted to understand her a bit more.
“I am Lakshmi, You were asking my age, I am 15 years old and I am married” she gulped a sip of water and added “I got married at the age of 4 in Rajasthan.
Then my in-laws took me to their place at the age of 12 with all rituals my parents sent me to my in law’s place”. Her eyes were deep and filled with tears. “I ran away from my in laws someone in school told me there is an NGO in Pune Astitva which helps women especially the water wives ” she wiped her tears.
Amravati Station arrived Lakshmi smiled and covered her head with dupatta and went out of the train. I reached NGO office and checked all arrangements “Didi, There is a girl outside from Rajasthan she is waiting to meet someone who can help her” Poonam social worker at NGO asked me. “Take her to the stage, give her some tea let her settle down there in audience” I told Sujata.
We all gathered around the stage area. We were waiting for the chief guest Minister Mrs. Shanti Patenkar to arrive and inaugurate the event of Independence Day. This premises was of local Govt. School. Sujata my supporting friend and Manager of the NGO started introducing our NGO Astitva and the work we do. “Now, I will tell you about the inception of Astitva” Sujata Added. “Because of weather impact on farming and irrigation, the water scarcity occurred in the village and surrounding areas”.
“Each women has to walk from 100 to 200 Kms to fetch water to fulfill the daily needs of their families. So once a women gets busy with her children or fell sick, they remarry the son to another girl to fetch water. So they are called Water Wives ” Sujata was sharing the story which is common to many lives around.
“Many years ago in a small village of Maharashtra a farmer had 3 daughters. He married all three daughters to already married and aged men.
One day one of his daughter who was pregnant and was third wife of a 60 years old man ran away from the village. With lot of struggles and she gave birth to a lovely girl. Our very own Chanda didi, the soul of Astitva and supporting more than 150 Water wives and other girls.” Sujata smiled at me and took a step back. I went ahead “Thank you so much Sujata. I am just like you all now, let’s inaugurate the event of Independence Day.”
“All the girls performed so well, I loved the bharatnatyam I am so happy with today’s function of Independence Day” Mrs. Shanti told me. I saw Lakshmi looking at me, I waved at her she came forward “Lakshmi Welcome to Astitva, you are a part of our family now” I kept hand on her shoulder.
Mrs. Shanti asked “She is also a water wife ?” I replied “No, She is Balika Vadu.” I held her hand and took her to stage.
“Attention please, this Independence day let’s make our selves free, free from all bounding, free from all blind beliefs. We women cant sit and wait for others to do something for us. We have to stand for ourselves and we will” I looked at Lakshmi I saw confidence on her face.
After 3 years.
Lakshmi is managing Astitva branch in Rajasthan struggling a lot and trying to help young girls and boys against Bal Vivah (Child marriage) . She gets all aid and support from Chanda Didi. She is also pursuing her studies.
Chanda is spreading awareness and helping girls as many as she can.
It’s not about water wife or a balika Vadu, We women being free citizen of free country still face many issues in our everyday life.
I am a mother of a daughter and I wish my daughter to overcome all these boundaries. We are free but, we will never enjoy our freedom unless our daughters, sister, mother and wife can walk freely .
Let’s join our hand. Support each other. This Independence Day, Let’s bring freedom for womanhood
Happy Independence Day !
This story is inspired from a real life incident. Identity of characters, events, organisation and place is changed to maintain the confidentiality.
Picture Courtesy : World Wide Web
Next post in this series is by Meenakshi who blogs at mommystimeline where she puts soul in her words and inspire many like me. She is a lovely and a beautiful friend who is always ready to help others. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Over to you Meenakshi.
Read more stories here. Azadi ka Samosa
Mamta – Maternal Love here
An untold story of a Brother and Sister here.