Archive for » June, 2014 «

Unglorified wisdom


Here is a story of a person I met recently. I have changed personal details enough to ensure absolute anonymity.

Born into poverty in a remote village, Sriya was not highly ‘educated’. She went through school up to the end of primary and was a high performer there, until formal education stopped. She was married off at a young age and went to reside with her husband’s parents, to be tormented daily from the very first month of marriage. Two children arrived and the husband’s abuse continued for the entirety of their time together, with encouragement from his mother. Sriya eventually escaped them, with great difficulty, and went back to live with her mother.

The next logical step was to go for a house job in the ‘Middle East’. There she faced extreme harassment. She returned to Sri Lanka after three years and helped her parents improve their family home with the money earned. A second round to the ‘Middle East’ was no better. A physical assault left her with unrelenting pain on one side of her spine. The money brought back from the second spell in the ME was exhausted seeking medical treatment for the pain – which still persists despite her consulting all doctors that were recommended as ‘good’.

She now wants somehow to get rid of the pain. And when it stops, to start a job in Sri Lanka for any salary – as her mother is unhappy at having to support her with her pension. Mother frequently asks, ‘When are you planning to start a job?’  Getting a job is Sriya’s goal too but she feels it impossible to work with the current level of pain. So that has first to be remedied, somehow.

She found solace in religion for a time. But that too has waned of late. She has stopped engaging in the regular religious drills. Her mother is annoyed about this too. And why did she give up on religion? ‘I thought that there was no real sense in it if I had got nothing from all my most sincere and desperate supplications. So I just stopped going’

Does she not want to secure a better life in the hereafter? ‘If all I get here for my faith is this, how can I trust that things will be different in the hereafter?’ she says, with just the trace of a smile.

Does she hope to meet her daughter and son? The daughter should be around 18 now and the son 15. ‘I am desperately keen to get in touch. At least to see them once, even from afar. But I think my husband and in-laws would have painted such a terrible picture of me that it is best I do not disturb their peace of mind. If I really am a good mother I should be able to sacrifice fulfilling my desire to see them, so that they can get on in life without turmoil.’

So what will she do if her pain does go away and she is able to find employment? ‘I will continue to live.’ And after a short pause, ‘What else is there anyway?’