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Selvi

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by maalti, May 26, 2022.

  1. maalti

    maalti Finest Post Winner

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    Social worker Selvi was attending an interview. So many questions were asked to her and she answered them patiently. “Mam, one personal question. Why haven’t you married?” a reporter asked. Selvi closed her eyes and the flashback floated in front of her eyes.

    “Selvi, hey Selvi” Sheela yelled at the top of her voice. “Yes ma”, saying this, Selvi came running. Selvi was the eight-year-old daughter of Sheela. “Where did you go? I have so many works to attend and I have to go for work. You got up so late and just wasting your time”. Saying this, she knocked Selvi on her head. “Oh, amma, don’t beat me. It is so painful”. Selvi started crying. “Now, don’t start crying. I am going out and you have to take care of Thambi, cook rice for AN and wash the vessels. I have washed the clothes and kept them in the bucket. Dry them. Your father, the drunkard will be coming for lunch. I have prepared sambar and kept. Serve him food if I don’t return before he comes. There is yesterday’s rice soaked in water in the kitchen corner. You can have it and there is milk in the feeding bottle. You can give the milk to Thambi when he gets up”. Giving all instructions to her daughter, Shella started to go. “Amma”, called Selvi. “What now?” Sheela shouted. “My friend Rosy next door is going to the school ma. I also want to go” she said with tears in her eyes, still feeling the pain in her head where her mom had knocked her. “Hmm., with a drunkard husband who gives nothing to the family and two children, how can I manage the family? Who will take care of your brother if you go to school? You don’t have to go to school. Be in the house and take care of your brother”. Saying this, Sheela went to work. She worked for a construction company doing jobs like mixing of sand, carrying bricks, pouring water for curing concrete etc. Luckily for her, the job for the past six months was near her house and she was able to go home for lunch and come back early in the evening. Every Saturday, she will get Rs.1500 as wages. Her husband will be waiting eagerly and would grab almost the entire amount from her which would be sufficient for him to meet his drinking needs for the week. Sheela was not beautiful but she had a perfect body structure and but for the presence of her husband, she couldn’t escape from all the roadside Romeos. Hence, she was putting up with her husband, though he was a drunkard.

    That day was the birthday of the owner of the Construction Company where Sheela was working. The owner was a good woman and she had offered lunch to all the labourers who worked in the company. After lunch, the owner addressed them all. She had assured that she can be contacted any time when they needed any help. Sheela had the lunch, packed some sweets and fruits for her daughter and rushed home.

    Selvi did all the jobs her mom had instructed. She took care of her brother who has three years old. But deep down her heart, she wanted to go to school and study. Her father came in the AN. “Sheela, I am hungry. Give me food” he shouted. “Amma has not returned from job. I will give you food”. Saying this, Selvi took a plate, served rice and Sambar and gave it to her father. “What happened? Why hasn’t your mother returned?”. He grabbed the plate from his daughter and started eating greedily. Selvi was feeling hungry. But her father wanted some more food. So, she gave him some more rice and there was very little left for her. Her brother started crying. “Why is he crying? Take him out,” shouted her father. She fed some food to her brother and after that he started sleeping. She also ate the food that was left out. “Selvi, come here” her father called her. She went near him. “Did you eat?” he asked. “Yes pa”. “Come closer to me” he said. She went closer. Suddenly he grabbed her and started groping her at the inappropriate places. “Appa, please leave me” Selvi shouted but he didn’t listen to her at all. He tore her dress and looked at her with his red eyes. Selvi got so scared and ran to the corner of the room. He came running after her and grabbed her hair. “Please leave me. It is so painful” she pleaded. Just then the door opened and Sheela entered. She was shocked by what she saw. “What are you doing to our child?” she cried. “Amma, please save me from Appa” Selvi ran to her mom and clung to her. “Hey Sheela, Selvi does all your works at home. Why shouldn’t she do this also?” he replied.

    Sheela hugged the frightened child and tried to console her. The child was sobbing helplessly. “Selvi, change your dress and come with me,” said Sheela. “Don’t worry my child, I am going to do what you wanted to do for a long time. Yes, I am going to make you study”. But I want just one promise from you. After finishing your studies and start earning, you should find out the children who are suffering like you and save them. You should make them study. Will you do my child?” “Yes, ma I will definitely do” Selvi assured her. She took both her children to the owner of her Construction Company. The owner woman was a very kind person. She sponsored the education of both the children and also arranged a hostel accommodation to Sheela.

    All these flashbacked in the mind of Selvi. “Yes”, she said to the reporter. I don’t think I will be able to do what I do now if I get married. No more personal questions please” she said. Cameras flashed at the Social Worker Selvi who had sacrificed her entire life to the welfare of the downtrodden children.
     
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  2. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Nicely narrated, @maalti. Once again you have managed to convey so much in limited words.

    The way Sheela has been portrayed -- a woman trying to do the best she can at any given time in her life -- is beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time.

    Little details like the drunkard man being fed first, he getting to have more food even if others go hungry, and that he asks Selvi if she has eaten, all these make the narration so like real life, even as we hope against hope that it is not based on a real person's life.
     
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  3. Swetha52003

    Swetha52003 Silver IL'ite

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    So powerful and gut wrenching ! I am thinking about all the Selvis in real life who cannot get help and all the Sheelas who cannot rise to the situation to protect their children.. It is tormenting !
     
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  4. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    A very revealing story of the live girls have to live where they can not trust their father. There may be so many stories in real life.
     
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  5. maalti

    maalti Finest Post Winner

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    Thank you @Rihana @Swetha52003 and @HariLakhera for your likes and replies. I have seen and heard so much about little girls abused by their own kith and kin. In some of the cases, the mothers themselves force their children due to utter helplessness. There is one proverb in Tamil "Veliye Payirai Meivathu Pola" meaning, the fence which is intended to protect the crop will itself damage the crop. If the parents who should support and protect their children themselves indulge in such activities, how will the future of such children be?
    Even basic discipline is not being followed.
    I just poured out my heart. Thank you all so much once again.
     
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  6. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:Kudos to your prowess in telling short stories in lucid manner with heart wrenching riveting points to ponder. This is yet another posted in right time about the grave ills prevail in society all over the globe.
    • It brought life of my milk supplier Arun* in front of my eyes.

    2. Inebriated, lazy and no mind to work husbands of the world end up engaging themselves in preposterous activities.

    3. Womenfolk tolerate such spouses for some pragmatic reasons. But their educated wards remain cautious and take appropriate measures.

    *Arun a young +2 boy- eldest of the siblings three sisters was regularly supplying at dawn milk-in-pouch. Three days in a row he did not come. He used to narrate life of his parents and sisters in peacemeal.
    Then on fourth day when he came at dawn to supply milk, I enquired about his absence. He told in grim tone, “ sir, I finished my dad as he behaved late evening badly with my mother and my sisters. Morning to evening he would be bhakthiman sporting sacred ash, vermillion on his forehead but once it is dusk , he would spend time in TASMAC bar and late night he would be totally out of control. When mom didn’t give money for drinking, that day in night he threw LPG gas cylinders on to the street and chased my sisters and mom with kitchen knife. I chased him with a

    Crow-bar in hand and struck on his head. “

    With the help of my advocate friend, Arun managed to escape from clutches of police .
    Now After two decades, I understand that He with his mom & siblings completed education - all are well settled.

    Thanks & Regards.



     
    Last edited: May 27, 2022
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @maalti,

    It is heart-breaking to read Selvi even though we all know many such children exist. Unless there is more awareness through education, such things will happen and all we can do is to help the children educate and pray for their well-being.

    Alcholol plays a major part in all of these sufferings and it is high time people learn drinking is not only unhealthy but also results in other family members suffering. A lot of work to do in the society.
     
  8. joylokhi

    joylokhi Platinum IL'ite

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    Great narration of a story that may exist in so many homes. When I come across such true to life situations, the oft repeated question arises - why do such things happen and what is the ultimate solution. The role of social workers cannot be undermined , however seems a very long way to go to reach a place where basic humanity is there in society as a whole!
     
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  9. maalti

    maalti Finest Post Winner

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  10. maalti

    maalti Finest Post Winner

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    Yes. The solution is to properly educate. The education should cover the basics of humanity. Only education will bring about a change since this kind of behaviour is very common among higher strata of society also. Current education is based only on performance, get good grades and get admitted in a reputed college and after completion, get a good job with decent salary.
    In this story Selvi, just imagine what would have happened if the child couldn't study as she had wanted. Even her little brother would have been spoilt. He would have been sent to the wine shop by the father himself to get him the drinks from the shop, thus paving way for producing of another drunkard.
    Even the school teachers send the students to get them cigars and other things.
    The children should be taught to respect other human beings and grades awarded only if they qualify in moral education.
    We really don't know when all these will happen. Till such time, we can help/ educate the children when we get an opportunity.
    Regards
     
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