A Girl from the Countryside

Gomathi Sridevi

Copyright 2022 by Gomathi Sridevi

Photo by the author.
Photo by the author.

"You can't do it alone," that's what people said to her when she decided to move to the city.

Let's move to a few decades in the past.

It was rare for a woman to give birth at the hospital, especially in villages. Women used to give birth at home with a few old ladies surrounded by her and one lady doctor accompanying the pregnant woman.

Fifty-four years ago, a baby girl was born in a small house in a village. The girl was the second child in her family and had one elder and younger brother. They did not have a good family background where, her father ran a small shop while her mother spent her days working in farming fields.

Her parents were busy making a good life for their children. The eldest took the job offer where he worked in a foreign land for a foreign company.

The second one was taking care of her brother. At a young age, she learned to cook food and woke up early to do house chores. She always found girls around her age waiting in lines to get water in a pot. She had witnessed several quarrels between women arguing for water.

It was rare for girls to go to school, but she did. Her parents didn't have money to buy her clothes. So she took her brother's two old shirts and wore the same clothes to school by washing them every other day.

Every day she left for school after preparing food for her family. She walked in bare feet since there were no sandals for her. She collected waste paper on the streets and made pocket money through it.

At eighteen, she was married and gave birth to her first son at twenty. The baby was stillborn, which left her heartbroken. But she had a supportive and loving husband who stood beside her during the hard times.

The elders in the family treated her like a small girl. Her opinions and decisions never mattered to them.

They lived in a joint family. Since she was the youngest woman, she did all the house chores everyday. Her husband was working abroad and was unaware of his wife's situation. Being a girl, she was treated unequally by her family.

Her brothers were not there when she needed the most. But she never took that as a problem. She decided to be independent of her peer group. She got a good and caring husband and three loving children.

As a woman, she tended to her father and mother's needs in their last days. She was ready to sacrifice anything for the sake of her children. She thought her life was miserable, but her husband supported her studies. She landed a beautiful job where she helped children with their future. That's right. She became a teacher.

Within a few years, she delivered two boys and a girl. She managed both her family and work life. At a very young age, she became a mother of three. She became a teacher in her hometown. All the hard work and dedication to her job made everyone wonder. Her work life was more hectic than in the past. She tolerated all those tortures and heavy work for her children.

She thought about moving to the city for her children's education. Everyone denied her decision and was upset with her choice.

"What can you do alone with these children?"

"It's a new place, and it's not safe for you."

"You are a woman, and you can't handle everything."

Most people discouraged her and tried to make her stay in the village.

Despite the problems and obstacles, she never gave up. Her husband was working in a different city. The children knew that they would be away from their father. But they had their mother. She got a transfer and moved to the urban area with her children, all alone. Everyone tried to terrify her by explaining how dangerous and unsafe the city was for a single woman.

But she was not going to let her children stay in the village where they had fewer educational facilities.

Moving to a city was a big step. It took a long time to adapt to the newer environment. Being a naive woman, she got cheated sometimes by the locals.

She thought of her family as her world. She gathered courage and strength by seeing her children. She remembered her childhood days when she merely had two dresses and torn and sweaty shirts on her shelf. The empty wardrobe in her house was now fully arranged with a pile of clothes. People who humiliated her were now respecting her. People who judged and embarrassed her were now treating her nicely.

And this is her success.

Her children were all grown up now and got graduated from college. Seeing her children's success, she decided to step down from her work life. She gave a voluntary retirement from her job and enjoyed her life with her husband.

Now the couple is retired and back to where they started. Yes, after the retirement, the couple returned to hometown. The same place where they had started their married life.

They left this place for their children, and now they are leaving the city for their life. She was a strong woman and an inspiration for her children.

And SHE IS MY MOTHER. The most living inspiration for me is my mother. Her life story is more than enough for any woman to get inspired.

She proved who she is by coming from a poor background. She built her future with her hard work. A small girl from an unknown village is now leading a life which no one ever could have imagined. She has worked hard in her life for the betterment of students. She has given life and strength to the children who had considered themselves weak people and has been an inspiration for many students.

In a world where women achieve in every field, some have got trapped in four walls called 'Home.' They strive hard every day to realize their purpose of existence. And especially to girls and women living in the village and thinking it as their fate. Some people underestimate and discourage their lives.

And to all those women stuck in that deep hole, my mother would be the role model.

I have seen the respect and love that they show for my mother. The people who stopped her from achieving are sending their girl children to cities to pursue higher studies.

If my mother's life story changes one girl's life, it's an achievement.

Gomathi Sridevi, a budding writer from India. I am a Sociology graduate who is about to pursue Masters in journalism. I would describe myself best as a student who is quite interested in applying my learnings on Sociology for the benefit of the society.  My passion for writing can be attributed to my childhood habit of reading newspaper everyday. I took up interest on society and loved to pen down my thoughts through articles and essays.  I made efforts by contributing my ideas on societal matters through articles on several magazines to provide deep insights on the harsh reality of the society.

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