Baby di (as we call her) is my cousin. She was the eldest of seven siblings and her father was a clerk in Indian Army. Life was less expensive in those days, as most people still followed the ideology of simple living and high thinking. But even in that social atmosphere their lives were not easy, for several reasons.
No paternal support
First, her mother was a victim of frequent domestic violence. Second, her self-centred, aggressive father decided to give his children and wife the minimum facilities to live their lives. The children couldn’t dream of getting two sets of school uniform, and most of the time the younger ones had to manage with the old, torn uniforms of the older ones. The good thing was that as children of a serviceman of the Indian Army they were getting the chance to study in a central school. It lessened their stress a little.
After completing her master’s degree in Hindi Literature Baby di got the job of Hindi Teacher in a Central school. It was a great relief for her mother and the siblings. Now she could help them financially. But the same year she fell in love with a Bengali guy and got married too. Getting married to a guy from a different caste was another issue that she had to overcome.
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Continuing her contribution
Now her siblings and mother began to worry about their financial situation. But after one month of her marriage she gave half of her salary to her mother and continued thereafter. Nobody knows whether she consulted her husband about it before marriage. There were small arguments with her husband, but this never seemed to be a major issue.
With passing time two younger brothers became a banker and an engineer respectively. They were in a position to take responsibility now. But it was always Baby di who took the responsibility. The brothers just helped their mother from time to time. From grocery to medical needs, all expenses were her responsibility.
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Neither yes nor no
Though I never saw my brother-in-law encourage my cousin in taking all these responsibilities, he was never an obstacle either. It was as though he stayed behind the scenes as an inactive or neutral person. He had parents and siblings of his own, to whom he was answerable. I don’t know how he managed the situation but he did. He did it, though he was not happy. At the same time, Baby di left no stone unturned to make her in-laws’ happy and satisfied so that her husband couldn’t question her. At the same time, they had their own children, whom they were raising too. It would not have been possible without a proper tuning of their relationship.
Baby di has retired from her service now as Principal. But she has not taken retirement from her responsibility yet. She still gives part of her pension to her mother, though there is no need of it anymore.
Baby di didn’t want to reveal her identity to share her story. I respect her decision. But I found it equally important to spread this positive story of an amazing daughter.