Sorry! Pooja- A true Confession

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

It’s just not a story by my true confession for a girl name is Pooja. Just because of ignorance one life had not got the justice. i am sharing this because i don't want this story to happened again

Sorry! Pooja  

 

Awareness is the basic nature of the human race but we are addicted to do what is exactly the opposite, thus “ignorance is our best and favorite policy”. This policy has given us millions of stories of discrimination and injustice.

I too have a story. A story of a girl whose innocent face is still in my eyes, although I tried a lot to forget, I can’t. Maybe it’s because fate wants me to share it with you or maybe nature wants us to switch our mode from ignorance to action.

 

Pooja...The name sounds like a beautiful heroine from any Hindi movie, indeed she was, a heroine to her mother. Her Mother was her only care taker and the treasurer of her life. Her father died years ago; thank god he died. Yes! I said it right, because like the typical Indian favela men and his contribution and dedication to Alcohol were more than his own life. Also the Petty Hitler, cowered, lazy man used to release all his frustration on his woman, anyways he is no more.

 

Pooja has one younger sister and a brother .Their mother was the only breadwinner for the family, she was like skin over skeleton.

I still remember the first time Pooja came home. She must have been 11 or 12 years old. She was a brilliant student and had proven it by scoring 77% marks in 5th board exam without any support. Her mother was domestic laborer and she used to assist in cleaning and other things around the house. Due to financial strain Pooja and her brother stopped their studies and started helping their mother to earn bread and butter (the bread which we usually dispose in the dust bin just because the taste is not so good).

 

Somehow we tried helping Pooja to continue her studies by paying her fees and buying books. She had to manage both work and school. She was happy and enjoyed studying. Nevertheless happiness had always very less time for Pooja. Her mother was malnutritioned, due to which she fell sick very frequently and this time it was bad, she was diagnosed with jaundice. It was impossible for her to work for at least 2 months. But now who will work to support the family?? Who else??  Pooja had to replace her mother. She did the same with her new assistant, her 8 year old sister Asha,

 

Both the sisters used to work in the morning and afternoon. The merciful aunties who Pooja used to work for had complete sympathy towards them. They used to serve left over food to Pooja and Asha and many a times they have given rotten fruits to fee their mother (as she needs nutrition and we think that poor people can get nutrition even from rotten fruits). In fact they dedicated 10 to 15 minutes of their gossip time (apart from neighbor’s daughter, rates of tomato and coriander, new recipes, mother in law) to discuss about them regularly and consider them lucky. Their discussions included misfortune in the family, their karma and how they not only support them by tolerating their tacky and imperfect work but also compromise towards cleanliness and time. in fact Pooja was a beautiful example for the aunties to motivate their kids to study,” Pad lo warna Pooja ke jaise kaam karna padega” and “you should Thank God every day otherwise your life would be like Pooja”

 

The sense of responsibility of those aunties towards their family was so high that no one would empathetically tell them to take leave and not come until their mother gets well or to study and take care of their mother and help them pay the medical bills. In India, charity begins in places of holy worship and ends at home. The aunties are not wrong but selfish. Their world starts with their family and ends there. They have time, resources and intellect to tackle things but it’s limited till their own family. It’s not God who doesn’t want Pooja to study but its society who are not supporting her.

 

However it now became impossible for Pooja to manage studies and work together and I realized that paying fees is not enough. So eventually she stopped studying and started working full time which was a common practice in the slum. She had no childhood and her last right and interest i.e. Education was also ruined. The entire family was struggling for basic needs and helping each other.

 

Nevertheless the struggle didn’t stop there. Alcohol and ego is curse which creates devils and our ignorance helps them to grow stronger. One incident had completely transformed the innocent child to a hopeless girl. Due to insufficient space Pooja used to sleep outside at her uncle’s house. One summer night a drunken man tried to harass her. 

 

This incident turned their life upside down. Her ill mother got scared and insecure and her relatives started cursing Pooja and mother for many reasons like her growing age, father’s death, mother’s health, her clothes, her games, her tiny friends and the biggest one is Being a Girl 

 

The saddest part is nobody bothered and talked about that man and the mind state of the small child Pooja. Sometimes I really feel that to be rational is tougher than climbing Mt. Everest.

So who are these irrational people that are taller than Everest?? Let me give their brief introduction, they are like fireworks, look good (sympathy), but in reality they are pollution (spoil the situation) and only make noise (gossip). And following their advice is like buying expensive crackers.  

 

In Pooja’s case well-wishers (fireworks) has given one wonderful advice… “Marriage” yes 14 year olds marriage. I knew its illegal but like every educated person my ignorance mode was still on. If this would have been a rational society this situation would have been jail to the harasser, shelter for Pooja or marriage of her mother. But as I said, even Mt. Everest is small.

 

So Finally Pooja got married. A 14 year old super talented, responsible girl tied the knot with a 25 year old man. She was lucky to get a young man even though she was a minor as in most cases a 14 year old has to marry a man not less than 40 years of age. I couldn’t tell if her mother was happy, but yes! She was satisfied and no more insecure.

 

I was 19 when Pooja got married. I used to curse her mother for her decision but later on I have realized that considering her mother’s situation and wisdom what she had done was perfect. Of course she has given the license to rape her daughter to one man but also saved her from not standing on the street becoming a food of lust.

 

Pooja’s mother believes that she is in a better condition now. Though she still works as domestic labor with her mother in law she doesn’t have any extra responsibility. She has food to eat, a safe shelter to sleep and a husband to protect from external harassments (not sure about internal). So her mother says she is happy and when I asked about studies she replied “wo to bolti hai par ab kya karna hai paad ke, uske pati ko bhi pasand nahi hai” (she is interested but what is the use now, moreover her husband don’t like her studying). And guess what, her mother is finding match for Asha.

 

I am sorry Pooja. Because of my ignorance you gave up. A girl who deserved to be more than just a domestic labourer has given up. In her most difficult times also I saw her going to school, but when things were out of her strong but small hands she gave up. She gave up not because she wasn’t capable but because I ignored her problems. With a little effort I could have provided her with a place to sleep in my big backyard, some extra money to her mother, free tuition instead of passing time watching stupid stuff on TV. I would have definitely saved one caliber. But now I am left with regret.

 

Somehow we being educated, neat and clean, cultured people who can read, write, convince are responsible for this. We have everything- power, intellect, knowledge and most important JUGAD but we don’t use it. We are so addicted to ignorance that we have started adjusting with injustice. Our attitude is “Ab kya kar sakte hai? Chalne do”. We always forget that if we can run a business, build buildings, handle the team of 100, achieving impractical targets then why not this change?

 

Just turn around and see, thousands like Pooja are looking for support, she can be your house helps daughter, your peon’s son, security guard’s wife, chotu of your tea stall. I think we all have realized it but ignored them. We have to stop pretending that everything is all right. Nothing would be all right until we stop ignoring and taking action and do more than liking and sharing. It’s time to take action, how long we will fly away?

 

I know that taking the first step is always difficult but never impossible, and it’s high time. Let’s take a step for change. It’s time to utilize our degrees and wisdom. I am not saying every child should become a doctor or engineer but an ideal citizen of the country who live life with pride and honesty.

 

So can we take one pledge that if we encounter any Pooja we won’t be sorry anymore? Let’s support their education, if they don’t have a safe place to sleep let’s make one small place for them, if they can’t afford expensive tuitions lets teach them. We are the best advisers lets counsel them. If they are looking for guidance let’s become a mentor to them, and if they are lonely be a friend to them. Whatever however but let’s not feel sorry again.

 

Shweta Upadhyay 

 


Submitted: February 04, 2016

© Copyright 2020 Shweta Upadhyay. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Nicola Macbeth

What a wonderful account of such sadness. I don't know how you knew Pooja, but obviously your encounter with her has affected you deeply. But you must remember that although she didn't complete her studies, you have helped her and I'm sure she will be thankful for that. Thank you for sharing this.

Thu, February 4th, 2016 12:42pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for review. I am grateful that you got the correct emotions; I feel bad for Pooja but also determine not say sorry again

Tue, February 9th, 2016 4:02am

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