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Single mothers' fight with fate

Single mothers' fight with fate

Author: Shashi Priya
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: January 13, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/a-fight-with-fate/409565/

Introduction: They confronted destiny and refused to surrender. Single mothers who fought against all odds to bring up their kids share their experiences

When a severe heart attack caused the sudden demise of traffic police constable Baban Kathe, her five-month pregnant widow and three kids were left with no other option than to immediately vacate the police headquarters at Khadki and move to Janwadi, a slum in Gokhale Nagar. For 27-year-old Murli Bai, who got only hours to mourn her husband's death, it was time when even the last flame of hope refused to flicker. With relatives already distancing themselves from the bereaved Kathes the widow knew she had to face the world on her own.

And so did Simranjeet Sangha's mother Satwant Kaur. Widowed at the age of 27 with two-and-a-half-years-old son Simranjeet and one and a half year old daughter Mona, Kaur had a string of misfortunes lined up to test her patience. But she did not let her patience run out. A result to her tireless efforts is Simranjeet's success. Simarnjeet made it to the Indian Military Academy (IMA) after he stood 63rd in the final list of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations in the first attempt and without any tutions. With no qualifications or family support, Kaur was left with nothing but her husband's pension to rely on."It was a difficult time since it happened quite suddenly. I had to take care of my son and my daughter, who were very small when he died," says Kaur Murli Bai, who was an illiterate unlike Kaur, did not have the support of her husband's pension. However after shuttling between her home in Janwadi and police headquaters for a year she got a job as an assitant cook at police headquarters. And it was then that her quest began," I had four children -- two sons and two daughters and they were equal for me. I wanted to educate all of them because I suffered a lot after my husband's death as I was an illiterate. I did not want the same for my kids."

Though a meagre amount of Rs 1,500 did not allow her to send her kids to good schools she saw to it that they got proper guidance. "I made sure that they gave proper time to their homework. That is why I never asked them to assist me in my work," she says.

The four siblings who have been educated and always had been motivated to be independent by their mother are now earning on their own despite all odds they faced.

Murli Bai's second daughter who is an assitant clerk in police services, says, " I could not study in a good school and college because of the financial problems we faced but when I see now I think whatever I have achieved is a big feat considering the kind of situation we were in."

Rohit Athalye was four when his parents divorced. His mother, Mrunalini, victim of polio found it hard to cope with the ensuing low phase. Without any aid from her husband, Mrunalini has been taking care of her son since last 19 years. " I took up the job of a clerk at National Institute of Naturopathy. It was tough for me to live with that amount of money. When I could not afford tution for my son I cried on my helplessness. But then my resolve to make him independent and self sufficient got stronger day by day," shares she. Her son Rohit, now 21, works as a system administrator at a well known IT firm. " I have seen her toiling through day and night with that limp. Surprisingly, even after so much she used to find time to teach me," says Rohit.

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