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Bimla Mausi

About Sheela Bisht

Earlier Sheela worked as a lecturer (Computer Science). Now she is a home maker. She loves reading, mostly fiction.

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Prologue :

“Is she your elder daughter Neelu?” asked Bimla mausi to my mother pointing towards me. “She was a small kid with pink cheeks when I last saw her. Probably eight to ten years back.” With that she hugged me, it was the warmest hug I ever had. “Do you know? The burn mark on your left foot was given by me” she said laughing out loud.
“You were a one year old baby back then. I was babysitting you while your mother was out for some important work. I was preparing tea near the fireplace. You came running and all of the tea fell on your foot.”

 

Part 1

Bimla mausi was my mother’s cousin. She had come to visit us with both her children; her daughter was 10 yrs old and son was 8 yrs old. I was in my 10th standard then. Later my mother told me that she lost her husband a few years back and now she worked in the same office. I found her very loving, caring and full of life. She loved to dress up well. “Didi I don’t want a new sari from you but I want one from your collection of beautiful saris.” she would say to my mother and like a spoilt child, always managed to get one or two. She told me many stories of my childhood in village. We enjoyed a lot that summer. When I grew up a little more, I got to know more about her.

Bimla mausi was from a very poor family. She had one brother. Her father had some farm land in the village and that was the only source of income they had. That’s why everybody was very happy when she got a marriage proposal from a boy who had a good government job in Delhi. They did not enquire much about the family and accepted the proposal.

During the marriage ceremony, people from bride’s side started whispering among themselves that the groom looked much older than the bride. Somebody told mausi’s parents also. But the elders of the family did not take it seriously. And with all the love and blessings mausi was sent to her new home after the ceremony.

When mausi reached her in-law’s place, she came to know that her husband was a widower with two grown up daughters!!

Years later when I met Bimla mausi during my younger sister’s wedding, she told me exactly what happened on that day. That evening when her bridal palanquin reached her in-law’s place, her mother-in-law came forward with the customary prayer plate in her hands to welcome the bride. She lifted bride’s veil and was shocked to see a beautiful young girl as the bride instead of a middle aged lady she had expected. For some time she could not understand how to react, then she looked at her son and said, “What have you done son? Why have you ruined this girl’s life?” With that she fell unconscious.

It was then that everybody came to know that the whole issue was kept under wrap by the middle man and mausi’s husband. Everybody was told that the bride is a widow and middle aged. And they knew it very well that the bride’s parents, being very poor, will not be able to do anything after the marriage is solemnized.
People suggested mausi to go back to her parental house with all the jewellery she had got in the wedding ceremony. But she decided against it. She knew it very well that it was better said than done. She knew there was no future for her in her parents’ house now. She accepted her situation as her destiny.

Mausaji (mausi’s husband) had two grown up daughters, the eldest one was only 2 yrs younger than mausi. Mausi was 18 yrs old then. For one or two years she lived with the two daughters and her mother-in-law in the village. Her mother-in-law was a very gentle and noble lady. She loved mausi a lot. But all her life she could not get over the fact that she could not do anything to change mausi’s misery. In the coming years mausi was blessed with a daughter and a son. Soon after her mother-in-law died and mausaji took mausi and his children to Delhi.

 

 

Part 2

Mausi wanted a good and secure life for her children. She was happy that now she was at a place where she can think of good education and quality life for her children.

Slowly she realised that money was not in abundance as mausaji was a clerk in a government office but overall life was good. They had good government accommodation to live in. Her daily needs were taken care of and her children were growing up in good ambiance.
In the meantime, mausaji got his elder daughter married. Mausi told me that their son-in-law was older than her in age. Such an irony of life!!

Mausaji had taken some loan for the wedding of her daughter, which he was planning to pay off slowly from his monthly income. But destiny took a drastic turn again. Mausaji was diagnosed with a life threatening disease. Mausi left no stone unturned to give him good medical care. But no medical treatment could save him. And mausi became a widow at the age of 24!!

Alone in an unknown city with two small kids and one grown up daughter, mausi was initially clueless about this new situation in her life. But she did not lose heart. She learnt that she could get a job on compassionate grounds in mausaji’s office. She did not think twice and took the job.

Mausi told me once, “When your mausaji died I had the option to return to my village, after all I would be getting his pension money every month. But then I thought, what would happen to my children then? How would I be able to repay the loan with the pension money, which was very less? I had one more daughter of marriageable age. Then I came to know that I can get a job in your mausaji’s office and I decided to take it up.”

“You know Neelu, I had never stepped out of home alone before that. It was very difficult for a simple village girl to survive alone in such a big city. I had studied only up to class 5. Therefore, I got a job of a peon. My work was to pass on files from one department to another. Even reaching office was difficult. I had to hire rickshaw to reach there. It was a costly affair. So I learnt riding a bicycle. I bought a second hand bicycle and rode it daily to my office.”

Later on mausi got the second daughter married also. Her children were also of school going age. After school she kept them in a day care. Then she realised that to progress she needed further education. So she started preparing for her matriculation exams. That also was not easy. Her office time was from 9 am to 5 pm. After that looking after her children s’ needs and other household work took all her time. But she did not lose heart and worked hard to upgrade her education year after year. After a few years finally, she managed to complete her bachelor’s degree. Because of her education, she grew professionally also.

I met her again, when she got her own daughter married. She was still the same… beautiful and full of life. Her love for new saris, jewellery and her roaring laughter were still intact.
After that I kept in regular touch with her. One day she called me and said, “Neelu, you know, I have been selected for computer training program in my office. After that I will get a computer at my desk and I will do all my work on computer. I am so excited.” I felt so happy for her and at the same time thought when people of her age feel anxious about handling even a smart phone, she was feeling excited at the thought of learning to work on computer!! Actually this child like enthusiasm of doing new things has made her what she is today.

A few years later she planned to get her son married. He was 24yrs old then. She called my mother to tell her about the marriage. My mother asked, “Why are you in such a hurry Bimla? He is only 24. Why are you getting him married so early?” She said, “Didi I am too tired of handling this house alone and living alone. Now I want to rest a little and give the responsibility of this house to him and his wife. With that I will also get some company at home.”

Today she has a grandson and a granddaughter. She says her family is finally complete.
Last year she got retired from her job as Senior Assistant. Then she bought her own house with her provident fund money. I called her up to congratulate her for her new house. I also was a little worried because she had spent all her money to buy this house. When I shared my apprehensions with her, she said, “Neelu, my child, don’t worry about me. Have faith on that supreme power above, he held my hand and guided me when I started my journey and he is still by my side. I have got my pension money which I will get every month, that is enough for me. It was my dream to buy a house for my son and his family, which I have fulfilled now. Poor thing was part of my hardships throughout his life. Now at least he will have a house of his own.”

“Leave all that and check the new photographs of the house which I have sent you and tell me how the tiles are looking. I personally chose them for my room!” I heard the same hearty laughter again.

“Is she your elder daughter Neelu?” asked Bimla mausi to my mother pointing towards me. “She was a small kid with pink cheeks when I last saw her. Probably eight to ten years back.” With that she hugged me, it was the warmest hug I ever had. “Do you know? The burn mark on your left foot was given by me” she said laughing out loud.
“You were a one year old baby back then. I was babysitting you while your mother was out for some important work. I was preparing tea near the fireplace. You came running and all of the tea fell on your foot.”

Bimla mausi was my mother’s cousin. She had come to visit us with both her children; her daughter was 10 yrs old and son was 8 yrs old. I was in my 10th standard then. Later my mother told me that she lost her husband a few years back and now she worked in the same office. I found her very loving, caring and full of life. She loved to dress up well. “Didi I don’t want a new sari from you but I want one from your collection of beautiful saris.” she would say to my mother and like a spoilt child, always managed to get one or two. She told me many stories of my childhood in village. We enjoyed a lot that summer. When I grew up a little more, I got to know more about her.

Bimla mausi was from a very poor family. She had one brother. Her father had some farm land in the village and that was the only source of income they had. That’s why everybody was very happy when she got a marriage proposal from a boy who had a good government job in Delhi. They did not enquire much about the family and accepted the proposal.

During the marriage ceremony, people from bride’s side started whispering among themselves that the groom looked much older than the bride. Somebody told mausi’s parents also. But the elders of the family did not take it seriously. And with all the love and blessings mausi was sent to her new home after the ceremony.

When mausi reached her in-law’s place, she came to know that her husband was a widower with two grown up daughters!!

Years later when I met Bimla mausi during my younger sister’s wedding, she told me exactly what happened on that day. That evening when her bridal palanquin reached her in-law’s place, her mother-in-law came forward with the customary prayer plate in her hands to welcome the bride. She lifted bride’s veil and was shocked to see a beautiful young girl as the bride instead of a middle aged lady she had expected. For some time she could not understand how to react, then she looked at her son and said, “What have you done son? Why have you ruined this girl’s life?” With that she fell unconscious.

It was then that everybody came to know that the whole issue was kept under wrap by the middle man and mausi’s husband. Everybody was told that the bride is a widow and middle aged. And they knew it very well that the bride’s parents, being very poor, will not be able to do anything after the marriage is solemnized.
People suggested mausi to go back to her parental house with all the jewellery she had got in the wedding ceremony. But she decided against it. She knew it very well that it was better said than done. She knew there was no future for her in her parents’ house now. She accepted her situation as her destiny.

Mausaji (mausi’s husband) had two grown up daughters, the eldest one was only 2 yrs younger than mausi. Mausi was 18 yrs old then. For one or two years she lived with the two daughters and her mother-in-law in the village. Her mother-in-law was a very gentle and noble lady. She loved mausi a lot. But all her life she could not get over the fact that she could not do anything to change mausi’s misery. In the coming years mausi was blessed with a daughter and a son. Soon after her mother-in-law died and mausaji took mausi and his children to Delhi.

To Be Continued in Part 2…..

“Is she your elder daughter Neelu?” asked Bimla mausi to my mother pointing towards me. “She was a small kid with pink cheeks when I last saw her. Probably eight to ten years back.” With that she hugged me, it was the warmest hug I ever had. “Do you know? The burn mark on your left foot was given by me” she said laughing out loud.
“You were a one year old baby back then. I was babysitting you while your mother was out for some important work. I was preparing tea near the fireplace. You came running and all of the tea fell on your foot.”

Bimla mausi was my mother’s cousin. She had come to visit us with both her children; her daughter was 10 yrs old and son was 8 yrs old. I was in my 10th standard then. Later my mother told me that she lost her husband a few years back and now she worked in the same office. I found her very loving, caring and full of life. She loved to dress up well. “Didi I don’t want a new sari from you but I want one from your collection of beautiful saris.” she would say to my mother and like a spoilt child, always managed to get one or two. She told me many stories of my childhood in village. We enjoyed a lot that summer. When I grew up a little more, I got to know more about her.

Bimla mausi was from a very poor family. She had one brother. Her father had some farm land in the village and that was the only source of income they had. That’s why everybody was very happy when she got a marriage proposal from a boy who had a good government job in Delhi. They did not enquire much about the family and accepted the proposal.

During the marriage ceremony, people from bride’s side started whispering among themselves that the groom looked much older than the bride. Somebody told mausi’s parents also. But the elders of the family did not take it seriously. And with all the love and blessings mausi was sent to her new home after the ceremony.

When mausi reached her in-law’s place, she came to know that her husband was a widower with two grown up daughters!!

Years later when I met Bimla mausi during my younger sister’s wedding, she told me exactly what happened on that day. That evening when her bridal palanquin reached her in-law’s place, her mother-in-law came forward with the customary prayer plate in her hands to welcome the bride. She lifted bride’s veil and was shocked to see a beautiful young girl as the bride instead of a middle aged lady she had expected. For some time she could not understand how to react, then she looked at her son and said, “What have you done son? Why have you ruined this girl’s life?” With that she fell unconscious.

It was then that everybody came to know that the whole issue was kept under wrap by the middle man and mausi’s husband. Everybody was told that the bride is a widow and middle aged. And they knew it very well that the bride’s parents, being very poor, will not be able to do anything after the marriage is solemnized.
People suggested mausi to go back to her parental house with all the jewellery she had got in the wedding ceremony. But she decided against it. She knew it very well that it was better said than done. She knew there was no future for her in her parents’ house now. She accepted her situation as her destiny.

Mausaji (mausi’s husband) had two grown up daughters, the eldest one was only 2 yrs younger than mausi. Mausi was 18 yrs old then. For one or two years she lived with the two daughters and her mother-in-law in the village. Her mother-in-law was a very gentle and noble lady. She loved mausi a lot. But all her life she could not get over the fact that she could not do anything to change mausi’s misery. In the coming years mausi was blessed with a daughter and a son. Soon after her mother-in-law died and mausaji took mausi and his children to Delhi.

To Be Continued in Part 2…..

Mausi wanted a good and secure life for her children. She was happy that now she was at a place where she can think of good education and quality life for her children.

Slowly she realised that money was not in abundance as mausaji was a clerk in a government office but overall life was good. They had good government accommodation to live in. Her daily needs were taken care of and her children were growing up in good ambiance.
In the meantime, mausaji got his elder daughter married. Mausi told me that their son-in-law was older than her in age. Such an irony of life!!

Mausaji had taken some loan for the wedding of her daughter, which he was planning to pay off slowly from his monthly income. But destiny took a drastic turn again. Mausaji was diagnosed with a life threatening disease. Mausi left no stone unturned to give him good medical care. But no medical treatment could save him. And mausi became a widow at the age of 24!!

Alone in an unknown city with two small kids and one grown up daughter, mausi was initially clueless about this new situation in her life. But she did not lose heart. She learnt that she could get a job on compassionate grounds in mausaji’s office. She did not think twice and took the job.

Mausi told me once, “When your mausaji died I had the option to return to my village, after all I would be getting his pension money every month. But then I thought, what would happen to my children then? How would I be able to repay the loan with the pension money, which was very less? I had one more daughter of marriageable age. Then I came to know that I can get a job in your mausaji’s office and I decided to take it up.”

“You know Neelu, I had never stepped out of home alone before that. It was very difficult for a simple village girl to survive alone in such a big city. I had studied only up to class 5. Therefore, I got a job of a peon. My work was to pass on files from one department to another. Even reaching office was difficult. I had to hire rickshaw to reach there. It was a costly affair. So I learnt riding a bicycle. I bought a second hand bicycle and rode it daily to my office.”

Later on mausi got the second daughter married also. Her children were also of school going age. After school she kept them in a day care. Then she realised that to progress she needed further education. So she started preparing for her matriculation exams. That also was not easy. Her office time was from 9 am to 5 pm. After that looking after her children s’ needs and other household work took all her time. But she did not lose heart and worked hard to upgrade her education year after year. After a few years finally, she managed to complete her bachelor’s degree. Because of her education, she grew professionally also.

I met her again, when she got her own daughter married. She was still the same… beautiful and full of life. Her love for new saris, jewellery and her roaring laughter were still intact.
After that I kept in regular touch with her. One day she called me and said, “Neelu, you know, I have been selected for computer training program in my office. After that I will get a computer at my desk and I will do all my work on computer. I am so excited.” I felt so happy for her and at the same time thought when people of her age feel anxious about handling even a smart phone, she was feeling excited at the thought of learning to work on computer!! Actually this child like enthusiasm of doing new things has made her what she is today.

A few years later she planned to get her son married. He was 24yrs old then. She called my mother to tell her about the marriage. My mother asked, “Why are you in such a hurry Bimla? He is only 24. Why are you getting him married so early?” She said, “Didi I am too tired of handling this house alone and living alone. Now I want to rest a little and give the responsibility of this house to him and his wife. With that I will also get some company at home.”

Today she has a grandson and a granddaughter. She says her family is finally complete.
Last year she got retired from her job as Senior Assistant. Then she bought her own house with her provident fund money. I called her up to congratulate her for her new house. I also was a little worried because she had spent all her money to buy this house. When I shared my apprehensions with her, she said, “Neelu, my child, don’t worry about me. Have faith on that supreme power above, he held my hand and guided me when I started my journey and he is still by my side. I have got my pension money which I will get every month, that is enough for me. It was my dream to buy a house for my son and his family, which I have fulfilled now. Poor thing was part of my hardships throughout his life. Now at least he will have a house of his own.”

“Leave all that and check the new photographs of the house which I have sent you and tell me how the tiles are looking. I personally chose them for my room!” I heard the same hearty laughter again.

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2 Response Comments

  • Aparna Mondal15/04/2019 at 10:40 AM

    Lovely story Sheela. Lovely narration. Simple yet so lovely story telling . Waiting for the next part. Good to see you writing regularly .

  • Aparna Mondal16/04/2019 at 10:23 AM

    Can’t appreciate it more. Your Bimla mausi is an inspiration. You have previously written another inspirational story and this too is superb. We need to identify and tell the stories of these unsung heroines who do not know of feminism but their determination and resilience speak of the inner strength of a lady and her capability. She would always inspire each one of us. Just a salute to this brave lady. Your writing has done true justice to bring out the essence of the courageous lady. Keep penning many more stories my friend. Enjoyed this to the core.

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