member, Youth Voice Group (2011)
We Can Change Maker (2011)
Peer Counsellor (2012)
I am Swapna, a 20 year-old girl living in VIP Nagar . Let me start by saying something about my mother, things that people in my family don’t speak of, or even think about.
My mother’s name is Sumitra Paik. She lived in a small village in South 24 Parganas, and was very keen about studies. My grandfather had sent my elder aunt to school, but because she was not interested in studies, he decided against sending my mother to school at all. My aunt eventually got the opportunity to study for three more years despite her lack of interest, but my mother on the other hand was married off. She started managing her in-laws’ household in Joynagar when she was all of 10 years old!
Can anyone do so many things at such a young age? Planting grains, threshing paddy, cutting fish, cooking – Ma used to stumble at every step, and each time she had to hear abuses, and sometimes get beaten up too. My father also behaved very badly with her, and Ma used to be sad all the time. She would sometimes ask her parents, “Why did you get me married so early?” As a married woman, she was not allowed by her in-laws to attend any functions outside home, or to move around freely. Only her grandmother-in-law loved and supported her a lot and her father-in-law also looked upon her as his own daughter. Ma tolerated many things for many years, because of the love and support of these two.