“Try your best to keep the kids alive. If it becomes very difficult or if you are pressurised into giving in to the nasty demands of men, mix poison in some tasty food and feed the kids. Make sure they are dead before you also consume it.” These were the final words of a dying man to Selvi, his wife, who suddenly had the burden of surviving with her mentally challenged son of 3 years, a daughter of 2 years, another son of six months and a huge pile of debt. But Selvi did not give in to this advice, instead, fought her way ahead. But the odds she had to face were huge, be it living in a cemetery to keep away from ill-intentioned men, sleeping on empty stomach and toiling on construction sites for as low as Rs 50 a day. She managed to educate her children as she knew education was the only way out of poverty. Her efforts paid off. Her mentally challenged son completed his tenth class and is working in a book binding unit, daughter is doing her BSc Nursing and the third son has cleared Class 10 board exams.
Litty lost one of her legs when it came under the wheels of a Mumbai suburban train. Crippled though she was, she did not feel it so as her loving husband was always on her side to take care of her and their two little daughters. He had resigned his office job and took up home tuitions to be with his wife so that he could attend to her always. But fate had other plans for the family. In about a year after she was crippled, the husband had to go to a place nearby on some work. But he did not return as the bus he was travelling in plunged into a valley and killed him. Anyone would question God for being so ‘cruel’. Not Litty. She did not give up, but took up tuitions, struggled to make both ends meet, and succeeded.
Sumathy lost her husband a few years ago. She has a bed-ridden son who is mentally challenged and who needs constant attention. She had another son who was her solace being the breadwinner of the family. He got married and became father of two children. Life was more or less okay as he managed to keep the home fires burning. But not for long. Last Year, this jovial man came under the wheels of a KSRTC bus in Kerala and breathed his last plunging the family in deep distress. The family is struggling still. Sumathy’s daughter-in-law is doing odd jobs as a house maid and a cleaner in nearby offices. But not a word of disappointment can you hear from the family members.
Three heartbreaking stories of survival. These are stories of courage, hope and indomitable spirit, something so scarce these days. Most of us cringe at the first sign of trouble, be it domestic or career related. Not them. And so were rightly recognised too. These were three families among seven that received the BRIDGE Resilience Awards last week from the hands of Tushar Gandhi, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and Mrs Sudha Murty, chairperson of Infosys Foundation, at a grand function in Bengaluru, organised by A BRIDGE Over Troubled Waters Trust, for their pluck, fortitude and resilience.
When pushed to the wall, you have the option of getting your face injured or turning back and fight. You are not sure if you will succeed. Yet some do and succeed too. Because, for them giving up is NOT an option. What’s your option?