This is a story that Mums and Stories hopes the readers to be non judgmental in one’s perception. An amazing story of a daughter and her mum and we are glad to have featured Farah and her mother.
Farah Shaikh is a young woman in early twenties and is a teacher who teaches children from underprivileged backgrounds in Mumbai. She also hopes to turn into a journalist someday. She has been associated with an NGO called Kranti (meaning revolution in Hindi).
This organization helps in educating and empowering children of mums who did or do sex work.
In a telecon, Farah shares with Mums and stories her story.
“I am the second daughter in the family. My mother hoped for a son after my elder sister was born. My mother was a bar dancer and my dad had fallen in love with her and they had got married. Apparently as she had too many hopes on having a son, she had tried to kill me but was unsuccessful thanks to the alertness of a nurse.
Then as far as I know she never ever tried to do this again with me or my siblings. I have two younger sisters and now my mother from a long time has stood by us children in our misery and pain.
When we were very young, my father died and my mum was left alone with four children. She tried working as a house help but apart from us kids she had even other family members to take care.
In despair, she chose to do sex work for sometime. Soon she realized the impact of how others perceive her in the neighbourhood or how in the future we might have to bear the taunts. So she quit it completely to find other means of livelihood. At this time, we were really young to understand the gravity of the situation.
When I was around 10 or 11 years, my neighbours would come and tell me on my mum’s past. It would hurt me a lot until one day my mum decided to confront herself. She made us sit down and explained why she had to do what she had to. The circumstances, the dilemmas and perhaps she hoped for our understanding.
All four of us including my youngest sister who is speech and hearing impaired and is the most pampered of all sisters stood by her decisions.
As the years passed, she would often explain why women and mothers in sex work require acceptance and support from the society and least of all from the family.
Now she is a homemaker and works with me on and off at Kranti. She stays separately with my younger sisters but comes to see me often and helps too at work.
Because of the NGO I am associated, I have travelled to various cities on work as part of its initiatives and have even been to Nepal, some memories I will always cherish. I have learnt to enjoy teaching young children and right now I teach all subjects for class I.
I have studied in various mediums in different schools and can speak in Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu and have been picking up on my English too.
I had finished my 12th exams and then I was guided to do teacher’s training course and have completed my degree. Through all this we as a family were also victims of Gujarat riots and we had to flee to Mumbai. Since then we have never gone back to Gujarat.
Through an NGO we stayed in Mumbai and it also happened that my mother put us all children in a hostel as she couldn’t take care of us that time. After a few years she was able to get us all out and then after a few years, I got to know of Kranti.
The organization has been like a mum to me who has nurtured my dreams and instilled immense self-confidence in me. My mum, Najma Shaikh, I admire her that despite being uneducated she tried her very best to take care of her children and regardless of what society said or even now comments , I truly feel she is special.”
Seen in the individual photographs Farah and her mother.