A daughter who is shunned from parents, a mum who is keen to be united with her child but both are at present far away goals. This is a moving and sensitive story that we have received from a mum who wants to share her pain, her experience of being a mother who misses her child and how she has come to terms with life.
Richa Srishti shares, “ My story is that of a simple girl brought up in an unorthodox family who, though, was expected to achieve something different, but not to set an example by doing anything radical. I was not encouraged to do all the typically “girlie” things expected of most girls. Instead, I read and wrote poems and stories.
My father was often elated with his daughter’s intellectual and academic prowess that he used to tell everyone about how well she wrote and what kind of books she read.
I also developed a sophisticated and refined taste for high-quality music as well as movie. On the other hand, I was still treated as a typical ‘girl’ and not permitted to mingle with young boys and to go out of the house as my twin brother was allowed to. Despite being given the opportunity to read the likes of Moravia, Pasternak, Gogol, Tolstoy etc., I was confined within the four walls as any other girl of the society. I indeed found that atmosphere suffocating but found my breath in books and writing. I published my first story in children’s magazine. I was in seventh heaven. My upbringing gave me a confidence which I did not find in my friends and for that, I was proud of my parents.
I had a choice to make in my final year of graduation and I chose linguistics as an optional subject. During the 90’s, in Bihar, linguistics was the least known subject and in my university, there was not a single teacher of linguistics!! My professors told me to opt for the other optional subject – home science as it was a scoring subject. But I found the syllabus of linguistics so interesting (given my interest in science) that I decided to study on my own and I succeeded too.
Though my parents were not willing to send me so far to Delhi for higher education, I held my ground as I knew I could only find my freedom outside that society.
Later, things went wrong when it came to the question of marriage. My parents insisted on finding a match. I, the girl who had been trained to think for herself, refused. During my M.Phil years, I did finally find the person whom I thought to be my future life partner. He was an atheist by choice. I was shocked to see that my parents, who had brought me up so differently from other children, just could not accept their daughter choosing her life partner
Finally, after their continuous failed attempts to budge me from my decision to marry him, they cut me off financially and till today refuse to speak to me.
Despite being brought up in an unorthodox family and in quite a different manner compared to my classmates around me, I faced similar problems which any other middle-class girl would face. Though my parents gave me a secular and liberal environment at home and encouraged me to go ahead in my life and to build my career, they could not tolerate a girl who thought independently and started taking decisions on her own. Yet, I owe everything to my parents, even my ideology, because they gave me wings to fly (little did they know then that I would so far away!).
The first two years of our marriage was clouded with severe financial problems. I had to do tuitions to sustain both of us. My husband tried hands at different things but did not get anything ‘worthy’ of his qualification as he didn’t want to do tuitions!! At times, I needed medicines or had to do some tests, but I didn’t have any money.
After I got well, I tried to be emotionally stronger than earlier. Things could not get any worse, so everything got better day by day.
I had always wanted to adopt a girl child and had decided not to have my own baby but my husband wanted to have one and I finally complied. I was very happy to feel my baby kicking inside me. That was the most precious moments of my life.
When I had my baby,I had no family support. I was not given any paid maternity leave in my company. They asked me to join after four months. I thought my parents would start talking after the advent of my baby but they did not. I had a ceaserean operation and it was very difficult for me to handle everything alone but my husband supported a lot and we did it together. After four months it was time to leave my baby in a day care as my company had given me ultimatum to join or leave. I still remember those days when I left my baby in the day care and would cry for hours. It was a relief that my son coped very well. He was such a darling. Within three months, he started sleeping whole night and we could have rest at night.
After three years, I had to leave my baby due to some problem and it was unbearable to leave him. I used to keep a journal for him which was a place where I can vent out my feelings. I felt myself as an orphaned mom. First three years, I used to visit my son after 4-5 months and used to spend quality time with him. When I tried to bring him with me, I met with a hostile behaviour from his father. He also wanted to come to me. Gradually his behaviour started changing. I don’t know what happened. As a couple, I was divorced from my husband by this time.
In fact, his father agreed last year that I could bring him. But when I asked his father finally to bring him home, he asked me to wait for another year. After that when I went to see him in March this year, his behaviour was completely changed and he vehemently told me that he didn’t want to live with me but with his father and step mother.
I never fought for his custody earlier as I thought it would emotionally be too much for such a small child and here I was shunned by my own son. He did not want to talk to me on phone too and got irritated when I used to call him. He is 7.5 yrs old and I can not force him. He has now completely stopped talking to me on phone.
Now, I have no option but to embrace the situation. I try hard not to think of my past but every moment I am being crushed by those things. I don’t know where to go and where to find peace. I sometimes want to take my life but have not been able to do so till now. I think I am not strong enough to do this. I don’t know for how long I am going to endure this.
I would like to advice those mothers who want to leave that if they know they have to leave and can’t resolve the problem, they should never trust the father and fight to take the baby as soon as possible. I had made a blunder at that time; I don’t want any mother to go through the pain which I am going through.
Many will say, what I did was wrong and many will say it was right. But I am unable to judge myself. It is very hard for a girl to marry on her own. She is shunned by the society. No family support – emotional or financial.
I always wanted to contribute to the society and not be bound by its traditional chains. With a Ph.D. in linguistics and even after having a record of good publications, I have not found a job which gives me satisfaction and harnesses my talent. I am trying and failing again and again and hope to succeed one day.
It hurts when I see that the majority in the society still thinks of me as a disobedient daughter who married without the blessings of her parents, as a woman who failed to keep marital life intact, and as a heartless mother who could not sacrifice just to be with her baby at any cost.
I want to assert that I am still a daughter who loves her parents more than anything in this world, a mother who longs to see her son every moment of her life, a woman who wants to have a loving and understanding partner, an empathetic person who wants to make others happy.
I am a woman defined by my character, a woman who has lot to give to the society. I am a better person now after going through all the painful experiences. I have decided to live as I feel that everyone has a his/her role to play in the larger scheme of things. One can not control one’s past or future but only the present.
The pain must make the person better as one learns from every single thing, whether it is right or wrong, whether it gives happiness or sorrow. One must embrace life and play one’s specific role. At every stage in one’s life one makes decisions based on one’s knowledge at that moment. So, it is time one stops blaming oneself and start to become more accepting as far as challenges are concerned. As Carl Sagan has rightly put it, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
Mums and Stories wishes this mum the strength to cope with the situation and hoping something indeed incredibly positive will occur in her life. Due to the sensitivity of the story her real picture and other details that will reveal her identification have been concealed by us.