By Abha Rai
Poverty is not a notion that any of us growing up in India have been unfamiliar with. The word does become a little hazy if you are away from India. Clic Abroad has done several projects in India and is very proud of its work deeply rooted in India. A photo project recognizing the real community heroes, and calling out their stories is what we at Clic Abroad embarked upon this summer. Our first eye opening encounter was with Usha, 37(name and age changed to protect identity).
Here is what Usha’s day looks like. Usha is a proud mother (she calls herself that) to three girls and lives with them along with her husband. Usha loves her girls and identifies herself as a mother first and anyone else later. Usha is always surrounded by her youngest daughter, Meera, 6( name changed to protect identity). Despite being equally close to all her daughters, Usha’s face instantly lights up each time she catches a glimpse of Meera.
She is the sole bread earner and care taker of the family. Usha’s day begins by waking up at 5 am and cooking meals for her family, engaging in daily household chores and preparing for her day job as a domestic helper.
She drops off her kids to school at reaches her day job at 8.15 am. At the job, she is required to manage day to day household tasks such as cooking and cleaning. Her day from work ends at 6.30 pm after which she picks up her children from their tuition lessons. Her day does not end just yet. Upon reaching home, she goes back to cooking meals for the family and ultimately wraps up her day by putting everyone to bed.
Many a times her days ending with erratic fights with her alcoholic husband. Being beaten and abused was the norm of her house. Not for one minute of the interview did she stop smiling. She kept reiterating the fact that she was so thankful to God for the girls and her family. Happiness for her has always been watching the girls smile, study and grow together. Her ultimate aim is just like any other mother of watching her kids become successful and well accomplished.
As I left, I saw Usha continue her daily chores of providing for her family. She indeed is our hero and our inspiration who believes in providing selfless and genuine care to her family. I had tears in my eyes imagining her struggle, but for even a second she did not let her smile fade away. Such are the individuals who make life worth living and continue to live for today when they are not even sure if they will ever have the next meal. There are several Usha’s who go for days working and skipping meals just to provide for their families and there are several others who continue to live unaware and unmoved despite the existence of several women like Usha.