Myself, Samvedana (formerly ‘Chinky’). There was a time, when I was quite new to this city of dreams, unknown to everyone, but my struggling life opened up my new destiny here. Today, I am known to everyone around me may be due to my teaching profession. Now, I have many friends and much more imprints to say which belongs to me. But still, there are some left outs in my life which always pain me. Well, I know past cannot be rewritten and those wounds cannot be healed for the rest of my life. The motto that keeps me alive is the strong feeling that, I am not a loser and can fight anything & everything which will come in my path. I take this opportunity to dedicate my story to all women who are the victims of this cruel world just like me.
It was the period of 1970s, when our village of Kumbaddi was not much developed and it was a slum area. We had lack of infrastructure facilities like power, electricity, vehicles,etc. Also most of the houses had no urination facilities inside their house. Some of the people used to make tents and stay in it. We used to travel miles far off for urinating facilities. Due to new buildings came under construction in our area, some of the tribals got migrated to another location or near villages. Also some of the houses were destroyed for spacing of the buildings construction. We were forced to shut our mouth because those argued with their officials was ill-treated by them. Also the labours and their supervisors misbehaved with women and young girls staying in that particular locality. Law & orders enforced existed only on books but none questioned them for their cruelties . It was the period, when woman had no voice in the society. Being afraid of their lives, none of the males showed daring to protect any females harassed by them. Every day we heard about female suicide or being killed , either due to torture or rape. No female dared to come up with her views or grievances in those days, as they knew well that they will be either forced to death or killed brutally. Women faced lack of enjoyment and freedom for women. It was only during festivals or fairs, when we women waited to meet face to face, have talks with our friends. That was the scenario of my village where I was born and brought up.
My family consisted of Appa (father) and 2 younger sisters. My father was a small scale mill worker & we survived on his daily wages. I lost my mother in her delivery, when she gave birth to my third sister. So, after mother, I took the position of our lost lullaby for my younger sisters. I used to look after the household activities including cooking, washing, feeding all family members,etc. Our house was located in the most innermost area of slums, consisting of a single room with a small partition which we called bathroom.
In rainy days, our area looked more terrific than usual, especially in the nights were scary due to darkness and more unsafe to travel out. It was a fine Thursday, when the day looked bright with birds chirping and freshening up. I completed 14 years. I maintained myself always brave enough to fight life, that may be due to my struggling life with 2 sisters and old father after mother passed away. This tragedy left me strong and courageous in life so far.
That night, I was undergoing my first menstruation cycle and it was around 9.30 pm at night when I wanted to go out for urination. It was more scary & darkness outside with storms and thunder blasts, I was quite afraid to move, but still I made it after Appa and sisters slept. I found an old building under construction after walking over miles. I built up my mind strong to move inside but was unaware of the 4 cruel minds which followed and surrounded me not letting escape myself. One of them hit me badly on my head, I got fainted.
When I gained back my consciousness almost few hours passed away. How…….What……When……Where…… I was unable to memorise anything. I found myself torn and shattered in wounds and marks on my body and soul. I tried to get up, but unable to do so, it pained me very much, feeling very weak & lost for the first time in my life. I felt as If I am in a lost unknown world. I could see everything blank around me. Each and every time I tried to get up I fell down. A compassionate voice peeped me, which was an unknown old lady, she helped me to get up. Without asking me a word, she could understand of what must have happened with me.
She said me kindly, ” Girl, I know what you are feeling, whatever happened, don’t let anyone know about it. Stay brave, never react anything outside. You or me cannot change this village. I’ll manage you some clothes and take you home back.” She brought me some old clothes of her daughter,whom she lost in a similar incident like mine. I had motherly feelings when she hugged & supported me to reach my home.
There, I found my Appa standing at the door, he questioned me for where I had been for such a long time. I was speechless, the old lady answered, “Please don’t shout her, she lost her way. So I brought her to you.”
It was difficult for me to face anyone as I was undergoing such a painful situation. I was totally shattered with mind and body. Like other girls of village, I also thought of suicide, did not want to be alive. This incident left me depressed, whenever I looked at myself, I hated myself. I never had much expectations or dreams in my life, as life had always hurted me and now leaving into some different marks. I lost courage to sustain and move ahead.
Then I saw my 2 younger sisters playing around me, and at the other end, my old Appa searching his medicines, the inner voice in me spoke up here, ‘I need to get up, I can’t be so weak . I should not forget them, I am a mother to my sisters and need to care my old Appa. So I need to live my life.’
Initially, it was difficult for me to be friendly or social with any surroundings around me. I always had the nightmare of that terrific incident and controlled myself from screaming loud.
After few months passed away, some contractors visited our place, they spoke to Appa and warned us to vacate our house, as they wanted to break off all the surrounding areas for construction of new buildings. Therefore, we decided to migrate to the nearby village, but in the mid of this journey we lost our 70 year old Appa forever.
I & my sisters reached to the nearest dwelling place, anyhow we could manage to build up a tent to stay in. There, I was in search of a livelihood, as I need to feed and survive my sisters. Now my responsibilities increased towards them after Appa left us forever.
I went to work as a labour with a nearby building contractor on daily wages. Even though, I could not get paid well, but managed food for my sisters. Starvation was not a problem for me. Most of the time, there was no food left for me after feeding them. I slept empty stomach or drank some water several days, as I was aware always, I lived my life only for them.
Gradually, after some period, I managed sending them for study at night schools, as I wanted them to take basic education. Both of my sisters were found good at their studies. Chutki passed her VIII std and Mulla was appearing for X std exams, when I got a marriage proposal from a waiter working at our nearby hotel. At that time, I was just 19. His proposal left me in a question mark. It was a strange situation for me, as I never thought about marriage in my life. My only desire was to get my sisters well settled with their life.
Later I thought about, I felt I should not neglect this marriage proposal, as the guy had a family oriented nature and felt he would support me throughout life. Therefore, I agreed for marriage. We had a registered marriage, accompanied by my 2 younger sisters and 2 of his friends. Then we had a peaceful life. But I was unable to accomodate my married life as I could not forget about the past incident in my life, that damaged my soul and body. I felt sad as I had hidden the truth from everyone including my soulmate. I felt guilty and ashamed to face his pure hearted nature, even though I wanted to share with him about my past, I could not as I was afraid of the consequences. Anyhow, I managed my courage and spoke to him everything. After listening the whole incident, he supported and gave me a new name, “Samvedana.”
He made me strong enough to face the world. He recreated back my confidence. Also he wanted me to develop myself, so he supported me for getting educated. I completed my teachers training at the age of 35. I had always dreamt from my childhood to become a teacher, and now I could fulfill it. I got selected for the government school for secondary level teaching. Also I became a home tutor, as many of our students approached me for private coaching. My schedule was totally engaged from dawn to dusk.
Recently I got an opportunity from one of the students mother to give him private coaching at their home. I could not deny her, as she pleaded for her child is a weak student. Even though my schedule was quite busy, I took time to accommodate that child in my routine. I visted his home and it was my first day of coaching him. So far, I had spoken only with his mother. I was meeting his father for the first time who is bed ridden over years.
I got surprised and it was shocking for me to see the same cruel face once again in my life. I recollected those past terrific memories in my brain, when he spoke to me, “I am Vinay’s father.” His face, his voice, his eyes seemed to sound quite normal, as he didn’t remember me or anything. But how can I forget him, as he was one of them who led me to terror for the rest of my life.
After listening him, later I broke my silence to Vinay, ” What happened to your father and how he became bed-ridden?”
He said, “Teacher, my papa is bed-ridden since past 14 years. He met with a terrific car accident, which changed his life along with 3 of his friends. In this incident, one of his friend lost his 2 legs and at orphanage now, another lost his eyesight and travelling places for livelihood, and the third one lost his life last month, after suffering over many years as his body parts were badly damaged.”
I felt shocked but at the same time a great relief and peace arose in my heart. I had this warm feeling after many years of life and could feel somewhere the eternal power “god” (universe) do exist and may be he wanted to grant me justice.
Moral: Time is powerful than you. So,do not take disadvantage of your strength and others weakness. Law and order may rescue you today from your cruelties, but who will rescue you tomorrow from your fate?