People like Sabita, who brave through life, hand out inspiration without even realising it
I am from Bihar and so are my in-laws. I moved to Kolkata just a few months ago. I am a single mother with three kids and no husband. My husband had moved to Mumbai for work but he passed away in 2011, when I was two-months pregnant with our youngest. Koi dimagi bukhar hogaya tha, Didi. Raat ko hi mar gaya woh (It was some fever of the brain. He died within the span of one night). I still can't believe he is no more. It has been so many years.
I was left at the mercy of my brothers. I feel every girl is the responsibility of her parents before marriage and of her in-laws, thereafter. But my mother-in-law had passed away before I was married into the family, and my father-in-law, too, died a few years later. The only person left was my husband, who, too, left us. That's when my parents and brothers took me in. They treated me nicely but for everything my kids (two daughters and a son) or I needed, we were left at their mercy. Khudko mangne mein sharam aati thi (I used to feel ashamed to ask for anything).
All three of my brothers are drivers with Uber. My younger brother, who is single, came to know about the programme called UberSAMARTH, where wives of driver partners are trained in certain skills so that they can either have a better chance at earning a livelihood or do something on their own.
It was an offer for wives, but I was his sister. He still took me to the Uber office and spoke to them. They heard my story, cried with me, wiped my tears, and took me in. They bent the rules for me so that I could participate in the programme.
After the death of her husband in 2011, it's only now that Sabita has finally stepped out of her home and is taking care of her kids, all by herself
I am an uneducated girl from a small village, I never imagined going outside and working. But the situation demands I do so. I used to be afraid to talk to people or even stepping out of my home alone. I didn't know how to talk to people, how to behave. I was taught all that at Emporium, where the teachers were kind and patient enough to teach me things about the hospitality industry. I didn't even know what the word meant.
People in my class either spoke phat-phat (fluent) English or Bengali. But the teachers, after sessions in both the languages, explained the whole thing in Hindi so that I could understand. I am very grateful to them. All my classmates were also very supportive of me.
Now I work as a housekeeping staff at Kolkata's Artsy: Coffee and Culture, and I earn Rs 7,000 per month. I can send my daughters to school. I want my son to have a private education. If I can spend a few hundreds on my children from my hard-earned money, aur kya chaie mujhe. Main unke liye hi toh kama rahi hoon (What else do I need? After all, I am earning for my kids). If I was not making a living for myself, I would have always remained dependent on my brothers for each and everything. But that has changed.
Life is very uncertain, anything can happen anytime. I never thought this could be the life for me. But I am happy. I would have been happier if he (my husband) was alive. But then, I would never have been able to live this life.
Koi bhi kaam chota nahi hota (No work is small). I actually feel proud that I can travel alone in a big city like Kolkata and earn our daily bread for my family. And along with that, some respect at my place of work, too. My kids are also very happy about it. They love that their mumma goes out to work. Mera nahin dekha hua sapna pura hogaya (The dream that I never saw has come true).