“It’s always said opportunities knock at your door, that doesn’t mean you will be waiting for the knock, go ahead and grab the opportunities as they come, that’s the way of life.”
In India many women tend to be dependent on the men folk of the household. Before marriage it’s dad and after marriage it’s their hubby. Somehow that’s how it was in the olden days. But should they still cling on to such a way. They have their own body, heart and soul which need to develop its separate identity. This can happen only when they start living a life for themselves. It doesn’t mean give up family. It just indicates spare some ‘ME’ time to develop your personality and hone the skills that you possess. How many of us are able to do this. Very few of us do that because we have tied up ourselves with few inhibitions. We always think what others would say and how they would react. The ultimate truth is we are caged in our own thoughts and fear to budge forward.
At this juncture I’m reminded of one of our clients Indu who is a native of Coimbatore. An outstanding student at college she aspired to take up a job and support her family. But her dad was influenced by the assertions of his family members who felt she must be married at the earliest. She might not get an alliance at a later age. After marriage she could pursue her career. Indu was not at all happy but she had no other go. She had to agree to what her parents said and got married to Prakash an affluent businessman from Mumbai. Prakash was in no way a match to Indu’s beauty and intellect but who can change what’s destined. Indu’s brother Krish who loved his sister too much was also unhappy with this match-making. But he had no say. His father was carried away by the words of the relatives. For the kith and kin Indu getting married to a businessman from Mumbai was a great thing as if though flying abroad. Little did they know what Indu will have to endure in the coming times.
Indu too was excited about going to Mumbai as she felt she would have better opportunities for work in this leading metro. She took a few months to settle down with the family. She often expressed her desire to take up a job but her mother in law kept putting it off by saying that she was new to the city and they couldn’t risk by sending her for job. In six months Indu conceived and so she gave up the thought of going for job. She knew her baby was her first priority. Indu and Prakash rejoiced at the birth of their cute daughter Brinda who proved lucky for Prakash. His business soared heights in terms of profits and he got really busy to a great extent. Indu gave up the thought of going for a job completely as she understood situations were not favourable. Moreover after the birth of her daughter her only brother-in-law moved in with them because he had been sacked by his company. Her in-laws insisted that they all live under one roof. Prakash was happy as he felt all his loved ones were together. But his responsibilities mounted as he had to feed few more mouths. Indu slogged at home and Prakash with his business. When Brindha was four years old, Indu delivered another baby girl Sudha. Everyone was happy together.
Happiness and sadness are the two sides of a coin. Likewise Indu’s family too had to face few difficult situations. Prakash was a good businessman but his habit of drinking and smoking took a toll on everything. As the work pressure mounted he started smoking incessantly. His habit of drinking too was increasing day by day. This caused deterioration in his health. Indu kept warning him but he took no heed to it. Until one day it was detected in medical tests that his kidneys had failed. He required a transplant. Indu’s life was washed off because she was used to staying indoors attending her family but now she had to run around arranging for transplant. Just at this moment of crisis her brother-in-law moved out with his family to another house fearing to shoulder responsibilities. Indu’s in-laws too moved with him. Indu was shocked to see such a change. A family which was so loving and affectionate for so long how did they change? Her husband had slogged for them and now when he needed them they had withdrawn their support. Indu realised that she had to tie-up all loopholes and save Prakash. There was a loss in their business because of Prakash’s health and Indu came to know that Prakash was in debts. Indu didn’t know how to go about it. She informed everything to her parents. They too were shocked. They were very old so they suggested Indu to bring Prakash to Coimbatore for treatment. Their relatives at Coimbatore were ready to lend a helping hand. Indu came to Coimbatore and as her cousins suggested she gave an ad requesting for donor of kidneys. She also asked for financial help from her known circle. God’s grace, enough money poured in from her friends and acquaintances. Even Prakash’s business friends, contacts generously deposited money to the bank account advertised by Indu. Many strangers too supported after seeing the ad, some corporate houses also generously supported. But she couldn’t save Prakash as his basic functioning of the organs had failed. He breathed his last after a struggle for a week. Indu was in a doom and she didn’t know how to react to this. Her parents asked her to stay back in Coimbatore forever by winding everything in Mumbai by clearing away all debts. But her adolescent daughters who were in their high school did not agree to it. They wanted to pursue their higher studies in Mumbai with their choice of subjects. This was like a wave of confidence for Indu. She got a reason for living. She returned to Mumbai. To her shock she found her in-laws back at her place. After few days her brother-in-law claimed the ownership of the house she lived in. Her in-laws too took the side of her brother-in-law saying her husband was dead and she no longer needed such a big house. She had enough money and she could manage with that very well. Indu retaliated by saying that she had to shoulder the responsibility of bringing up her daughters single-handedly and the house was an asset for future. She approached the bank where Prakash had been paying the loans and cleared the balance amount. She got the house re-registered in her name. Prakash had nominated her so it was easy. Slowly Indu started transforming herself. She called Prakash’s business partners and settled their dues and handed over the power of attorney to them as she knew she wouldn’t be able to run a business about which she hardly had knowledge. She deposited some amount in banks as Fixed Deposits. Her father too helped her financially. She decided to take up B.Ed and work as a teacher as that was the safest of jobs to pursue at her age. She would be able to attend her daughters as well. She enrolled in a University and completed her degree. The following year she got a job in the school nearby. She lives happily with her grown up daughters as she dared to change her adversities into opportunities.
I’m sure our readers might be wondering what role we played in her life. Indu shared her story with us to boost up the morale of many such women who are still living with inhibitions. She takes pride in bringing about the transformation in her life. Her friendly advice is that do not wait till the moment of crisis, be proactive before hand for a better living, and don’t be too dependent on anyone. She realised sometimes strangers come to our rescue when it’s least expected from them, and not from the one’s from whom we expect.
Feel free to share your experiences with us at STHREEJEEVAN, we are looking forward to hear from you. Do mail to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Sujatha Sairam, Chennai