Munia : Supporting Girl Child Education
Dramatic World before my eyes!
Learn from past & hope for tomorrow. Dream & give them wings to fly high !!! This world is so beautiful to live in. It brings so much of love & happiness in our lives. It gives us “never thought of bonds” with so much of passion. Yes, I do acknowledge, but yet there have been ample superstitions & practices [majorly in girl child education] prevalent which have changed the beauty of this world. They have deteriorated the word Innocence & have shattered some beautiful dreams into painful ones.
Narrating a small Girl Child education story!
Partly factual & partly fictional story:
A little girl Munia, with the naughtiness in her eyes came to this world to change my life. As she grew, she wished to study & become as big as her “Memsaab”[Mistress]. She came in my life some 10 years back. Daughter of my maid, she was just 6years then. Such a loving kid she was, no one could have differentiated her on any terms. She proved to be a bundle of joy full of charm and glee. Her eyes always sparked of something naughty which had so much innocence.
She was there with me for 4 long years, wherein I got her admitted to a nearby municipal school. I personally educated her in a very practical manner & tried to nurture her interests of painting & crafting. But this union was of a short span as my professional commitments took me to another city.
I had to MOVE and her dreams shattered!
I had no option, but to shift leaving Munia back there. It was really difficult to move out of my most loved place, without my precious home & Munia. It seemed life had shut the “merry doors” for both of us for a short span. For me settling in new place, with new people was getting too hard. And there, for Munia the life had changed by 360 degree. For her, the doors of school closed due to the lack of money. Before moving out, I had requested her family to ensure her studies, by supporting them with some amount, but the destiny hit her dreams hard.
New place, new job engrossed me completely and pulled out my leisure time. Though Munia was at the back of mind, but it had been over 6months of not listening her chirpy voice. This Sunday was really beautiful as I sat & smiled at the glorious past few years. I just loved that city & its pictures made me nostalgic. Looking at them, I had an great urge to hear the voice of my little Munia. I instantly picked up my mobile & dialled her mother’s number. To my despair, call went unanswered. I tried thrice but the calls were not answered. Ringing in some curiosity, my mind was perturbed. I started having some gloomy thoughts which made me lot uneasy.
I rushed to my table drawer & turned the old diary pages searching for some number. I had once saved my maid’s relatives number who lived just besides her. Lucky I was, I got that and my hands couldn’t wait dialling it.
Heart Breaking Conversation!
“Namaste didi, kaise ho [Hello Didi, How are you]? I’m good, but where is Munia & her mom? Why aren’t they receiving my call?
Didi, they all are busy with the preparations of marriage!
Marriage, whose marriage?
Rekha, what are you speaking of? Are you in your senses? That girl is just 10 years old? What about her schooling? How can they do this to her?”
Questions overflowed! I was in utter dismay & shock. I could have never seen her in this condition. But the answer was very simple, her family couldn’t afford & thus they planned to marry her off.
My mind couldn’t rest in peace, I was shattered. I could hear just one sentence – “Memsaab, mujhe aapke jaisa banana hai (Mistress, I want to be like you)”. I felt as if I’ve lost that little charming girl, that girl whose age was of playing with Dolls, whose ambition was to study, earn and become independent. How could her family be so mean & smash her dreams so easily? Such a harsh reality it was, completely heart breaking!
I felt toppled!
A day passed on, but I couldn’t concentrate on any of my work. I had to do something – to book my tickets & reach out to her. I had to somehow intervene & plan something for her. It was not possible for me to let that happen to a 10year old life. I knew it was the beginning of a life which will bury her dreams.
The very same day, I started my journey & landed after 10 long hours. My mind was completely out of order. Next day had to be challenging & well planned to carry out certain tasks. I sat over a cup of coffee, planning the proceedings for next day.
Beginning of a challenging Day!
It was a bright & sunny morning. Birds were chirping on the tree next to my hotel, it all seemed to be so full of hope and happiness that day. As I walked upto my maid’s rented portion, 5 kms away from my hotel, I saw some 7-8 people around the house, which I assumed might be Munia’s relatives. I somehow managed to enter the little hut & went in tears on a single sight of Munia. She was not the same girl.. She had lost the charm of her eyes and had become more silent. Her look distressed me. A look at me..she ran, hugged & cried “Memsaab, I don’t want to marry ,I want to study”!
“Yes, I’ll make you study and that’s my promise”.
Then started a big drama of reluctance, agitation by her parents & family who wanted to get rid of her. Some argued & urged me not to interfere with their matters & to get out of there. I did feel insulted for the first time in life, but I couldn’t have left my battle of making her what she wanted. Amidst lot of shouts, cries, I asked her to join me in moving out willingly. I took her along with me back to my place. To be on a safer side, I did raise an FIR against her parents for marrying her forcefully just at the age of 10 [which is banned under laws] & took her custody under me.
Life has changed!
From that day, till today, it has been 8 long years that she is with me, doing a job along with her degree. I did had a chance to interact with her parents, but I did not send her there rather asked them to come & meet Munia with me.
Lot of things have changed since then. My dream to see Munia educated & working has come true. Yes, I was a ray of hope for her but indeed that little girl , now young was a silver line in the cloudy dark sky. With a big heart she sends 50% of her salary back home. She send gifts for her parents & wishes all happiness for them. The rest amount she accumulates & uses it for the girl child education. For the love of girls, who are in the cruel hands of destiny. Once graduated, she wants to bring her parents along and wants them to live a life with head held high, a life of self-esteem.
It really pains when I look at this side of Munia, who despite the wreckage her parents wanted to create in her life, has so much of love for them. It makes me salute her pure heart which believes in togetherness. It makes me love her more knowing her ambition to fight against this blind malpractice.
[Along with her, it has been my resolution to stand firmly against these age old practices & help these little girls live their life. Girl child education is an important aspect in Indian society where Munia is an optimism & hope for such girls to come out, stand against the cruelty & lead a life of dignity. Every girl has the right to educate, work & earn her livelihood. She is no longer a puppet in the hands of patriarchal society. Get up ladies & help such girls pursue their dreams!]
What do you feel? Let’s all vouch to support one Girl child!