Courage can take many forms. Leaving your home with your young children in search for a better life, and to escape the clutches of domestic violence, takes a special kind of courage, that Nirmala exemplifies.
Run away with the children, Nirmala’s mother-in-law told her amidst tears, “Your husband is losing his senses. He might sell your daughter for liquor.” 29 years ago, Nirmala was sitting on the floor of her small hut, crying and consoling her daughter of four years and son of six months. Her husband was beating her up and uttering foul words because he wanted money for liquor.
That night, Nirmala’s mother-in-law told her to run away. She was both shocked and appalled at this statement of hers. She remembers the day clearly, “How can I run away from the house of my husband? Wasn’t this my children’s home too? Didn’t my mother tell me that my husband and I would be together for life?”
But Nirmala realised the harsh truth – she had no support from her husband. She also knew that in his greed, he could really harm her and their children. She would have to leave like her mother-in-law advised. But where would she go? How would she survive? How would she raise the children? All these questions worried her. But when her husband threw away their son’s milk and hit their innocent daughter, demanding money again, Nirmala decided to leave as soon as possible to keep her children safe.
She packed some of her belongings and the children’s clothes, and moved out after taking the blessings of her mother-in-law.
Nirmala travelled to a nearby city to begin a new life. To ensure her children’s survival, she began doing all kinds of odd jobs – in houses and in weddings, at construction sites and in godowns. She worked for 18 hours a day, with her young children in tow because she had nowhere to leave them.
Slowly, she earned and saved up enough to get a small room. Years passed by, and Nirmala kept working and saving money. She also sent her children to government schools for education. There were some good times and some bad. She made it through all of them and took care of her children despite all the odds.
When her children grew up, Nirmala married them to suitable prospects. Her daughter now lives in Gujarat with her family. She lives with her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild in her own house. She and her son have furnished it with basic amenities and are now saving up for the young child’s education. From being out on the streets alone working odd jobs to now having her own home and a strong income, Nirmala has come a long way. She has risen from the worst clutches of poverty by her sheer determination.
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