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Short stories

Stories of the common people

I love listening. I love listening to stories, especially stories told from the not so suave people
I see walking around me every day. One such day, I got an opportunity to dig into lives of
such everyday heroes, mostly women. They help you understand the verbose we make in
our lives compared to the rustic, simple yet courageous lives they live.
I have here in this article compiled 5 such stories; to give you hope, to broaden your
understanding of courage and to think of those drivers, sweepers, laborers differently.

1) SHABNAM

A lady driver and a single mother.

“I met Sahjad when I was just 21. We spent 2 months talking to each other over the phone and it
was like an ‘unseen love’ already, the shortest someone would take to fall for someone, after which
we met for the first time at a festival. Right after 3 days, we were married. He was an electrician and
I never really aspired to work because he earned around RS 1500/- a day, which was sufficient. After
few months of our marriage I got pregnant.
It was 8 months pregnant when uncertainty taped my shoulders and left me broken; my husband
died in an accident. Falling in love with him was the best thing that had happened to me and that
was taken away from me in no time. I was born with a baby girl and I had no will inside me to foster
her. I would lock myself in a room, cry for hours without doing anything. This went on for 4 months.
I had a big responsibility on my shoulders along with a fear lingering in my head about our future.
But, I guess life has everything planned for us!
Through an NGO I got to know about an initiative called Driver-ben(women) where they teach you
how to drive and help you get employed. My mother was keen on me doing this but I was so afraid!
This city is so big, I had never even touched a two-wheeler, and a four-wheeler was just out of my
league! But the people at Driver-Ben(women) were so supportive; they understood my story and
motivated me to stand on my two legs. I did learn how to drive; in fact, I got my license in just 1 and
a half month!
I brought sweets for everybody that day; happiness had knocked on my door after a long time. I am
so confident about driving now. I work for the whole day and my family supports me fully. I do not
want to give my father the burden of having me and my daughter at their house. I want to work and
give Seju- my daughter 7-10 lakhs so she can study and grow up to be a good citizen. I thought I had
lost everything but I had a new purpose in my life already- SEJU. I just want to earn for her now, she
is the fairy of my fairytale life and I want to make her a castle. I got a high paying job in Uber already,
I start this Monday so, the dream is not very far away.”

2)     NAINABEN

Single progressive mother, bread-earner of the house
“My husband got a heart attack 4 years back, he is bedridden now and since then it was my
responsibility to earn for the house and foster my daughter. I do 2 jobs in one day. I teach kids in the
morning and cook at seva cafe in the evening, I love both the jobs! The tough part about doing all of
this alone was parenting.
I was observing the outside world and I knew I had to prepare my daughter for it and after all this
time, I think I did. She is so bold! Once she was travelling on the local bus, a conductor touched her
without consent, she made a scene right there in the bus.  At dinner later that night, all the family

members have a ritual to share the day, we laughed about it with pride. I was so proud of her
smartness.
Oh, and you know? She even paid her own college fees by working in the income tax department.
Her walk and talk are so bindass! She has her own ways of dealing with life! When I stress about
her,  she tells me, ‘If my mom can do 2 jobs at a time why can’t I earn and do college at the same
time?’
Everybody around us asks me when she’ll get married but she wants to make a name for herself
before marriage and I am okay with it. Both of us are the earning machines of the house, unlike the
other households where the male earns. I share instances of our relationship in the school I teach
and I also want them to realize that the outside world would give them a lot of money but what
would be the use of all that success if you can’t share it with your parents? Thus you should always
respect them. Like my daughter respects me! I love her more than anything.”

3) MEENA BEN

Teacher, patriotic parent
“As a mother, the things I love the most in this world are both of my son. One of them is in 12th right
now and the second one passed away when he was just 4, a fever caught him. After his death I
joined a child help center called Anganwadi because I wanted to serve kids, I see my own son in the
hearts of all the children there and that is how I keep him alive in my life.
My second son is so ambitious for our country, once we were watching some news related to
terrorism in our country, he looks at me and tells me,’ ‘I want to kill every one of them, how can they
even look at our country and hurt it!’ He wants to join the Indian army. I was scared of the thought of
him entering the army initially, but then I listen to his wills; filled with a fervency to fight for his
country, I observe his eyes showing bravery and grit; I then feel proud giving this country a young
and brave son. And on the other hand, if I don’t support him who else will?
He is actually responsible in making me mentally strong; he gives examples of the strong hearted
mother of Bhagat Singh and explains how she supported him until his last breath. I guess it’s not
always the mothers who make their child a strong human, sometimes it is the other way round too.”

Manasvi Shah

Image Courtesy: Manasvi Shah, Manas Daxini

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