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Both of them are 18. They have both been married barely for a year, within 6 months of each other. They are twins and look quite alike though I can tell the difference now. They are the younger sisters of the lady who works at my house.
Their elder sister must be as old as me but already has a daughter who is about 9 and a son who is about 5. She says she has told her husband firmly that she doesn’t want any more children. She works in about 10 houses in our area to send her kids to school, although she sends her daughter to a Hindi medium municipal school while her son goes to an English medium private school. This is I think very common in India where people from the poorer sections of society send their daughters to the local medium while the sons are sent to english medium.
Both younger sisters are pregnant. One of them is due tomorrow while the other is about 5 months pregnant. They were working at my house before they got married. The one who is due tomorrow wanted to study further and used to enquire with me about any short term courses she could join since she had not studied beyond class 5. She was very firm that she didn’t want to get married, while the one who is 5 months pregnant was very sure that she wanted to get married and have babies…she didn’t want to study at all.
Last year, the one who is due tomorrow, told me that she was getting married because her parents and relatives were forcing her; she was only 17. I spoke to her elder sister, but the elder sister said that they would turn 18 soon and be legally allowed to get married anyways. So now, instead of pursuing her dreams, she is expecting a baby.
The second sister who always wanted to get married, did so about 3 months after her twin. She has a scar on her face because the boy who she used to baby sit (who was about 6) hit her with a toy. She came to me before her wedding asking for something to cover up her face, some powder or cream. Unfortunately, I don’t use any make up and couldn’t help her out.
After marriage, her life has been hell. Her husband beats her, her mother-in-law doesn’t agree with anything she does and tortures her; she is miserable. She has come back to her mother’s place 3 months into her pregnancy…and her husband is not ready to accept the baby.
The elder sister who is actually the lady who now works at my place has gone down south to search for a bride for her brother. Unfortunately, these two girls are helping the sister out and are working like crazy all through the day so that their sister’s jobs are not lost.
I hate to see them work during their pregnancy. When I got angry and told them not to come but send someone else, they told me that they would rather come and work since at least they would be earning something. They told me that they were helping their sister, since she had done so much for them (got them married and all that). It pains me to see them struggle with the daily chores and now I have stopped giving them anything strenuous to do. I do most of the vessels and dusting my self. I don’t allow them to lift anything when they sweep and ask them to swab the floor once in two days. Unfortunately, with my hectic schedule and with R around, I am not able to do the sweeping and swabbing myself..
But then, is it right? Should I even allow them to work. When I was pregnant, until my ninth month, I used to jump into crowded locals, run after BEST buses..but so much hard work – no way! When I went to my mom’s house during the final days, my nani made me sweep the floor everyday for an easy delivery (which I did!) but then, not so much work. I feel sad…and I am angry at the elder sister for leaving her sisters like this and going. On top of that, she has left both her children behind. Their schools have started after the holidays, but these girls have no clue where to go and what to do!
This upsets me so much, but what the choice do I have? I need the maid and they need the work at my place; often they tell me that I am one of the easier ones they have since I don’t trouble them.
I feel so sad that before marriage these were two young, vibrant, ever-smiling girls who are now on the threshold of motherhood when they themselves are children. No, I am not against them or anyone becoming mothers, but at such a young age when they should be enjoying life, earning their living (doing anything!) or having fun. They should have spent their pregnancy happy and taking adequate rest; unfortunately, both are working hard on physically demanding jobs, and as bad, emotionally upset.
Pic credit: DFID (Used under a CC license)
R’s Mom is a working mother in Mumbai trying to balance work, home and
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