The best birthday gift

By: Mousumi Biswas

          Priti was always a bright student in school. She had just appeared for her higher secondary exams and was awaiting her results . She and her friend, Neha were planning to enroll for graduation now . She was very excited about going to college.

" Priti look at this photo. He is a nice boy and works as a ward boy in a private hospital . "

"But papa ,  I don't want to get married now . I want to go to college and do my graduation. Moreover I am still a minor."

" Don't try to preach me . What will you do with all your studies ? You are a girl . Sooner or later you have to marry . How long will you be a burden on me ?'

Tears rolled down her cheeks . Her own father felt that she was a burden on him. Even her mother didn't protest as she knew how stubborn her husband was . She was totally helpless . Priti's dreams of going to college came crashing down.

From the very beginning she had entered her marital home with a man almost double her age , it was  a relationship filled with abuse and violence .  Beaten and tortured  by her husband and in laws for getting insufficient dowry , his persistent alcoholism and then the  birth of her daughter made matters worse for her.

She was the sole bread earner of the family and   worked  as a house maid to supplement the family income .

""Priti, what are these bruises on your cheeks ?" , asked Sambhavi , her employer .

Priti kept washing the dishes quietly. 

" Priti , I am asking you something. Why don't you answer ?"

Priti broke down , clinging to Sambhavi . 

" Come here and tell me what happened . Don't be scared"

"That brute hit me again today because I told him not to waste money on drinking. "

" Did I say anything wrong." Priti was crying inconsolably now. 

"Not at all" . Sambhavi gave her a warm hug and tried to consol her . 

" I just can't take it anymore. This  had become a regular thing .To Sambhavi's horror ,  Sambhavi could feel her flesh crawl at the sight of the  bruised skin . She was determined to bail Priti out of the hell .

" Radhika , please reach this address with your team. We need to rescue this girl from her barbarian husband and in-laws. " 



Sambhavi helped Priti  to connect to an NGO Which rescued physically, emotionally and mentally abused women . They helped her to leave her abusive and alcoholic  husband. 

She completed her graduation and began  teaching the under previledged children and also as a  councellor for abused women.

She completed her teachers training course from a reputed university . She began  working  in a private school as a primary teacher . 

Her daughter ,sughandha ,who studied in the same school ,was as bright as her mother.She excelled not only in studies but also in Co curricular activities .

"Happy birthday Ma , I am proud of you .  I dedicate  this best Journalist  Award to you .  Inspite  of  your hardships  you didn't break . By your perserverence and hardwork you have brought me up as a strong person just like you . I will never let you down . 
" Thank you dear . This is the best birthday gift any parent can ever get . I am proud of you ".

Mousumi Biswas