“My father was an alcoholic. So at a very young age my mother sent me and my two sisters to my grandmother’s house to live with her. We weren’t taken care of, hardly received any education and just left to fend for ourselves during though times. As soon as I was old enough to get married my parents chose a man that they found ‘appropriate’. I thought marriage was my only way out of the village and my only hope to go far away from the people who had made my life miserable. I later found out that my husband was an alcoholic too. I was shouted at, beaten and made to feel extremely inferior and insignificant every single day.
A few years after the birth of my second child my husband passed away due to alcohol poisoning. Suddenly, amidst all the existing chaos I had to support a family. I didn’t receive any help from my parents and didn’t know anything about Bombay so starting over and taking responsibility seemed very scary. I was aware that I had no distinguishable skill because I had never received a proper education. I felt miserable – I had never felt so weak and helpless. But I couldn’t let this break me or the dreams I had seen for my children. I wanted them to be in meetings instead of washing clothes. I wanted them to be awake late at night finishing projects, not worry about the source of their next meal.
I have been cleaning houses and cooking meals for years now. Happiness was a luxury that I could not afford but I can slowly see a light at the end of this tunnel. My daughter is about to become a computer engineer and my son is studying commerce with a promising future ahead of him. My children are going to be able to live their dreams – and maybe then for the first time I will know what it’s like to be alive for myself.”