Stories & Reflections
sent to me by Dr. Proja
There are always two choices in life, either put up with the conditions as they are, or take the responsibility to change them.
It happened one fine day when I was at my father’s clinic attending to his patients whilst he was out of town. A lady named Saraswati came with her one year old daughter. The baby was burning with fever, when I took her temperature I realized it was at 103. I scolded the lady for not bringing her baby in any earlier. The lady started crying, saying she did not have the money for the doctor’s fees and medication (I didn’t pay much attention to this since this is a very common occurrence at my father’s clinic).
Saraswati then told me her story. She had got married three years ago; her parents paid a dowry of 10,000 rupees. However, her husband ran away with the money and leaving her pregnant. Saraswati returned to her home and took on the job of a servant. Her husband’s family did not care about whether her daughter was sick or well since she was a girl.
After telling me her story, Saraswati left. I did not charge her, but I knew that this would not solve her problem. I thought about Saraswati all night and wondered what could be done to help these illiterate, cheated and downtrodden women.
Then the next day I received a call from my aunty who needed a housemaid for her daugher-in-law who had just had twins. I felt as if God had showed me a way to help Saraswati.
I recommended her to my aunty. My aunty gave Saraswati a good income and a good home to live in.
After a few days she came with her sister who was educated and was looking to become independent like her sister. I recommended her to one of my friends for a receptionist’s position. From this came the idea of NAARI, an organization for making women self-dependant.
Setting up NAARI was not an easy task, since there are so many legal formalities for female organizations. I was very young and all alone, so I dropped the idea. And then one sunny morning when I was having coffee a group of women came to my house (guided by the ever so dear Saraswati of course).
Everybody had a common story, cheated, exploited and dowry victims.
I recommended nine of these women to domestic maid jobs.
Now these ladies are independent and all eleven of them are working hard to live a respectable life. I may have not been successful in giving them an organization but when one day Saraswati came to my home with a box of sweets because she had got admission for her daughter at a nearby school, she fell to my feet and said : you have given my daughter and I a respectable living, may God give you much success.
I realized I had done nothing I just showed them a way – a way to self-respect and thereafter, all eleven of them continued this tough journey themselves.
After this post was published, I found a photo of Dr. Proja . Here it is:
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