Like millions of girls from the lower socio-economic background in India, she got married at 14, and had her first child at 16.
She never went to school, and could not read or write.
I worked in a multinational company, lived in one of the most elite localities in the city, and traveled around the world on holidays.
Every time I look at my life closely, I realize that I owe every bit of the professional success, self empowerment and liberation which I achieved in last few years, to this uneducated, poor woman. She liberated me, made me who I am today, helped me fulfill my lifelong dream of being self independent.
It was the summer of 2010. I was planning to visit my husband who was then posted in the United Kingdom, with my two kids,7 and 4 years old. I was a full-time, stay-at-home mom, living in India with my two kids and my ailing father-in-law. My husband had been working in the United Kingdom for the previous three years.
Throughout my entire childhood and early adulthood, I had only one persistent dream – to have a successful career. I wanted to see myself economically empowered and independent.
But destiny had planted many obstacles almost at every corner of my life – be it the chronic poor health of my kids, constantly moving from one country to another for my husband’s job, or having to take care of an elderly family member – I never ever got the ‘chance’ to start working. But, I just could not give up on my dream of having a career one day. As my second child became three, I grew extremely ambitious and positive about being able to start working.
But for several months, I could not successfully hire a nanny for my kids. Multiple behavioral and psychological issues of my father-in-law made it impossible for any adult to live in our house. Sending the kids to daycare was not a solution. Leaving my father-in-law alone at home was the biggest challenge. Finding a caregiver who would agree to live with him was an impossible task.
In my husband’s absence, I became a full-time stay-at-home mom and caregiver of my father-in-law for more than three years. Apparently, the more I was trying desperately to get closer to my dreams, the more they were moving further away from me. But, I could not stop dreaming even for a single day. I used to always fancy being economically independent and empowered one day though I knew my dreams were not in sync with my reality.
My realities were, I could not stay away from home even for half an hour if my kids were not with me. It had been several years since I got my last degree and I never had worked anywhere. Apart from possessing some general proficiency and being hard-working, I did not have any proven skill sets or training. Moreover, I lived in a country with a huge unemployment rate, where getting a job was difficult even for those who had many years of experience.
But, I could not afford to abandon my dreams even for a day. I constantly nurtured them in my heart.
One day, a friend suggested I attend an interview at a start-up. They were looking for someone to manage their basic administrative work, having previous experience was not mandatory. I went for the interview. They asked me to join immediately.
After coming back home, I desperately started reaching out to all my contacts and resources in search of a nanny or a caregiver, without any luck. There was a lady who worked for us as part-time help. My kids were quite comfortable with her, and she was quite familiar with the overall situation of my family. I asked her several times in the previous three years if she would consider working with us full-time. She always declined as she herself had three kids at home. This time I went back to her once again with the same request, a lot more desperately. She politely refused. I decided to call the employer the next day to inform them that I won’t be able to join. The next morning, she came back and told me she changed her mind and wanted to give me a chance to work!
For the next five years, she took care of my kids, and my father-in-law probably much better than I did. She loved the kids unconditionally. She would be there in the morning before they get up and would not go home until I am back home in the evening. At times, she neglected her own kids for mine. She would hardly be absent, she used to genuinely care about my situation and knew I could not be frequently absent in a new job. She was the primary and the only reason for which I could pursue my lifelong goals and dreams.
Whenever I look back at my life, I feel overwhelmingly grateful to this lady who changed my entire life in a significantly positive way. I always fall short of words to express my deep gratitude towards her and wanted to share this story with the world as a mark of thankfulness to the woman who gave me my wings. This story could also inspire women who are trying to follow their dreams in spite of many odds and hurdles, as giving up on our dreams is not even an option.
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