Women’s lifestyle in the 90’s? It was simple, but warm and interesting. Sad in its own way and happy in its own. Just like every life, in every generation.
I am 78 years old now. I could study no more after the 3rd grade in school. Goes without saying that I didn’t belong to a very affluent family. My mother used to make chairs of plastic wires to make the ends meet. So the responsibility to fulfil all household activities was largely upon me. I somehow managed to attend school and pull myself till the third grade, along with performing all the household chores. But soon after, I had to join my mother in making chairs. So the luxury of education went down the drain eventually.
Time passed in its usual rhythm. At the age of fifteen I was married off. In another ten years, we had six children. Even after marriage my life was neither sorted, nor settled. I had a husband who was not at all supporting, and an even worse mother in law. I was never treated well, with respect or love, by anyone in the house. Kids learn what they see around them. Soon enough, as they grew up, they started misbehaving with me as their dependence on me lessened with each passing day.
I used to do everything that is expected of a married woman to keep her family happy. But destiny had decided that none of my family members would ever take my efforts seriously. I never got any positive response in return. I lived in a society where women were generally never given respect. When I was in a terrible state, dejected and abused, even my own parents refused to let me stay with them as they were more worried about how the people around would react. Moreover, I would be a burden and would just enhance their expenses.
It has been almost 14 years that I am living in an old age home. I was mentally, emotionally and even physically tired of my house. The old age home has been the house, and other residents here has been my family, much more than my inherited or matrimonial house could ever be, along with all the biological relations they housed. Here is peace; here is happiness.
Storyteller : Mohini Devi
As told to Ritika Jain