The Village Girl!!!
The Village Girl!!!7 mins 2.1K 7 mins 2.1K
Reena and Sakshi were conceptualizing for over an hour on a story for their college drama festival. Reena was exhausted looking for good stories. Most of the stories they finalized were either too common, or chances were that, some other group had similar stories with the same message. They both glanced through magazines, novels and even short stories in you tube, but could not make a choice. While they were pondering, Jamuna, the housekeeping lady opened the door of their room and entered with the mop and broom. Reena looked at Jamuna, who was struggling hard to reach beneath the cot to clean. Jamuna was 5 months pregnant and struggling to bend down. Reena, did not like what she saw. She took the broom from her hand and bent down to clean. Jamuna was afraid, if the hostel warden got to know, she would be fired.
"Akka, I will clean it. Please give it to me. If the Warden sees, she will fire me. Please akka ... please”. Reena comforted her saying, “It’s okay, I will not tell the warden. Don't worry”. Jamuna was relieved, “Thank you akka". Reena and Sakshi both felt sorry for Jamuna. Reena offered her some fruits to eat which Jamuna packed for her kids. She thanked them whole heartedly and moved on to the next room.
Reena's mind was revolving around Jamuna, thinking, what made her work hard even in this situation? Something was drawing Reena towards Jamuna. She was a very honest and hard working lady in their hostel. She had seen her from the day she had joined the hostel. Sakshi asked Reena to meet Jamuna in the evening hoping to get some real life story, which wasn’t written or published.
In the evening around 5pm when Jamuna was crossing the street and moving towards the bus stop, she heard someone calling her. She turned around and saw Reena approaching her in a hurry. Reena came near her and stopped to catch her breath. “What happened akka? Why were you calling me? Do you need any help?” Most of the girls in the hostel, asked Jamuna to help them with their laundry or to pack their bags for them when going back to their hometown. Reena, after some respite said “No Jamuna, I wanted to talk to you”. Jamuna was confused and asked “What is the matter akka?” Without beating around the bush, Reena said, “I want to know about you and your life. We are looking for a real story to enact during the college drama festival”.
Jamuna laughed aloud and said "My story is not so great for you to enact in your college festival akka, people will laugh at you. You better look into novels written by Kuvempu or Bendre for a good story”. Reena made a stern face and said " You tell me your story, I will decide whether it’s good or not”.
Jamuna agreed. She went back to the hostel room with Reena. Reena and Sakshi sat d own to listen to Jamuna’s story. She started her story from her childhood days.
She said “Mallika, my sister will inspire you more than me. I was born in a poor family. I was the 3rd daughter to my parents. My parents had 4 daughters and 2 sons. We were so poor that we did not have food to eat or clothes to wear. My father was a hardcore drunkard. My mother was a hardworking lady. She struggled a lot to feed us. My elder sister, Ganga was married at the age of 13 years. My other sister, Mallika was very sharp and brilliant. She was studying in a government school nearby. She was bold and interested only in studies. She believed that only education can give us a better life. She never followed the orders given by my parents. My mom would beat her severely but she refused to work in the fields like us. She went to school when we went to work in the fields of a rich landlord, who paid us poorly. One day my father came home and announced that he had finalized Mallika’s wedding with some boy in the village. Mallika was just 13 years old then. She was not ready for marriage and very unhappy with my parent’s decision. She cried all night, refused to eat food for 2days.
My mother knew that if they allowed Mallika to go to school, she would create problems and her wedding would be stopped. She ensured that Mallika was locked inside the house and her movements were watched by both my mom and our neighbours. She tried her best to convince my parents but they did not listen to her. She begged, cried and protested but no one heard her. We got to know from the villager’s that the boy worked for some landlord and was a drunkard too. He was three times older than our Mallika. She was disheartened listening to this. On the wedding day, our house was filled with noise of our relatives and rituals taking place. There was only half a day left for the wedding. Mallika was clad in a beautiful saree but she was not happy. She was crying in desperation. I was just 12 year old and sitting with Mallika in a small room. Mallika held my hands and asked for help to stop the wedding. I felt sad for her and could not refuse to help her. With great difficulty I managed to help Mallika run away from the marriage ceremony. She ran as fast as she could. My parents could not digest the fact that their daughter had run away putting them in a shameful situation. There was a fight between my parents and the groom. They wanted to save their reputation. They got me married to the boy who had been chosen for Mallika.
I never knew that my life would be destroyed by my parents. They gave away my hand to a demon without a second thought. The marriage ceremony took place in a hurry and I was sent with my husband. When all this was happening to me, Mallika reached the police station nearby and complained about the child marriage and brought them along with her. By the time the police arrived, I had been sent off and there was no proof of the marriage ceremony and the entire village lied to the police saying that no marriage had taken place and that Mallika was simply creating a scene. Mallika refused to go back to my parents. The police called the women and child welfare, which sent her to a girl’s hostel. They took care of her stay, food and education. She was upset that she could not save me, the misfortune. Like my father, my husband too is a drunkard. We moved to the city hoping for a better life. But I think I was not destined for a good life. Like my mother, I work hard from dawn to dusk to feed my 3 children and now I am expecting another baby. Both my in -laws and my husband have tortured me a lot.
I wish for no girl in my village to lead the kind of life I am forced to lead. It’s sad, but people have a fixed mindset which they refuse to change. They still follow the same old rituals and never understand the importance of educating a girl child. My sister Mallika is striving hard to educate our villagers and create awareness about the importance of education. She has completed her teacher's training and is working as a teacher in a government school”.
After saying this she woke up holding her tummy. “Another thing akka, most people in the city do not know what we go through. They judge us on the basis of what they see. Most of the villagers will not change, until, people like you go there and show them that educating women will strengthen them as well as the society. The girls in the city think that we are fools to marry at an early age and have kids. What they do not realize, is that we do not marry by choice. We are forced to marry someone who think, women are only machines to produce kids. Hope someday the people in my village change their way of thinking”.