Ten years after Mumbai experienced the life-changing terrorist attacks on 26/11, The Better India pays homage to the heroes who fought bravely that day and their efforts to rebuild afterwards. #IndiaRemembers
In 2008, Guddi Maurya, along with her three children, was a resident of a village in East Uttar Pradesh. Her husband, Mishrilal Maurya, worked in Mumbai as an autorickshaw driver, like many others from his village.
If things had moved along as this couple had planned, Guddi would have remained in the village and Mishrilal would have continued to work in Mumbai.
On the evening of November 26, 2008, Mishrilal was ferrying two passengers to the railway station – his sister Vijayi and her husband, Ramkomal Khushwaha – to the railway station.
Mishrilal was, unfortunately, one among many who died that night. He took a bullet to his chest.
In a report published in The Indian Express, Guddi says, “No woman in our family works. I am the first woman to go out to work. My sister-in-law, who was injured in the attack, was also offered a job in the railways like I was, but her husband did not allow her to take it.”
Guddi’s youngest child was all of three months when the city was attacked.
The horror of the attacks and the loss of her husband, who was the sole breadwinner of the family, forced Guddi to rethink many of her decisions and she took control of her life.
From never leaving the village to completing her matriculation, Guddi has reiterated that when one sets their mind to it, almost anything is possible.
Speaking to the publication, she says, “I had three children when I decided to pass my matriculation. I did not want to be under-qualified just because I landed the job as compensation.”
The minimum qualification for the position of an Aayah in the medical department at the Northeastern Railways was to have completed schooling.
Guddi’s three children are now enrolled in a private school in Varanasi, where their tuition fee is being taken care of.
This is also a story of how the entire family came together to help Guddi.
It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. In the initial days, Guddi’s parents-in-law would often watch the children and help out in whatever manner that they could. Her eldest daughter, Ranjeeta, also came through beautifully in helping her mother by not just taking charge of her siblings but she also learnt to cook so that her younger brother and sister wouldn’t have to stay hungry during their mother’s shifts at the hospital.
Speaking to the publication, 15-year-old Ranjeeta says, “My mother had studied up to class eight. But after she got a job with the railways in 2009, she decided to complete her matriculation. I helped her learn to read and write English.”
For Ranjeeta and her siblings, Guddi is a hero. They have realised through a rather adverse situation in life that heroes do not have to be wearing capes, they can be right there beside us.
We, at The Better India, wish this family and all others who have suffered losses during the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks more power to go on and achieve all they desire.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)