The dark and deep-set eyes with soft-toned voice woman at mid-thirties, we got introduced as a nursing masseuse for two months. Having daily conversations with this lady named Babita slowly opened up to her inspiring life story.
I found her as an introvert and dedicated to the work assigned. She has been doing this job for nine years.
She wakes up at 2 am every day and arranges the vegetables to sell early in the morning. She is a dropout of primary school for being punished when she couldn’t write 45 as a first grader. Her mother married her to a “decent” guy from the same caste from a remote village, thinking it would secure her future as soon as she turned 13.
At 14, she was already a mom to a baby boy. With a new gift of god in the family, they worked hard to meet their daily needs. She used to do household chores, fetch the firewoods, look after cattle and all.
Her husband got a driver’s license and started working as a taxi driver. After four years, she gave birth to a baby girl. It was a life-changing moment for her when her husband left her to marry another girl from the same village when this little child was only two weeks.
It was when she needed his support the most, but he was nowhere to be around her. She registered a complaint to the police but all went in vain.
Just at 18, she turned into a single mom responsible for two little kids, the architect of their future. She left the village with two little ones to go to Kathmandu city with her mother. There she went from carrying bricks in construction sites to cleaning dishes as a household helper. In this process, she worked an empty stomach where she got paid low wages and got abused at times. But her determination and dedication never got faded but grew stronger every time than before.
She learned that hard work and knowledge pay off. So, she got training as a masseuse and started giving this service to lactating nursing mothers in the community. With her savings, she managed to sell seasonal vegetables in the morning and evening.
She is now proud that she has been a good mother with a stable income of around NRs. 35,000 per month.
Looking back at times, she had been naive, heartbroken and hurt but she never gave up. She stood up for what she believed, raised her kids, gave them good education and earned good money with dignity.
Her story made me think that women can be softhearted and strong-willed and bold like her. Time and suffering made her so strong. She is just a story I came across by chance. There are myriad Babitas in our society who have survived the hardest of life’s battle and yet managed to keep a big broad smile on their face.
Hats off to all dear Babitas, who are the real example of women who stand strong on their own!!
Niva Sthapit, a counselor by profession and now a ‘staying-home-mom’, is a new Mom who likes to write journals and blog articles.