Savitri- the name refers to a Hindu goddess who saved her husband Satyavan’s life by proving her utter dedication towards the husband, in front of the god of death.
Our Savitri was an equally dedicated wife and mother. She fulfilled all the traditional roles that are set for a married woman in rural India. Then she was left alone, with two kids to take care of, in the middle of her youth.
This unfortunate event led her to discover a new version of herself which is more than a wife and even a mother, she met the strong woman inside her. She works at 4 houses as a domestic aid and between shifts she runs around sending her children to school, dance classes and playgrounds.
Her two children are 7 and 12 years old. Shankhdeep- the 12 year old son is a child prodigy, he paints with his left hand and he paints well enough to impress a well-known retired painter who decided to give him private lessons; his right hand is completely burnt from an accident.
Subhashree- the daughter, is a little mischievous but she always tops her class. She loves to dance, but ever since her father left she had barely smiled, doctors suggested to enrol her in a dance academy. She has begun classes at a 25 years old traditional Bharatanatyam academy.
With a huge grin and a borrowed glass of cold water, Savitri welcomed me into her tiny one room house. Most of her groceries are stocked outside in a broken cupboard.
“Last week the damned monkey came and wasted a whole bag of flour. They are so full of mischief, they aren’t even afraid of me. He knew how to send the monkeys away, but I am trying to fight everything alone.” she said without letting her ever shining smile fade away.
While we were calculating how much of financial assistance she will need per month, she shyly asked:
“How long will you help us like this?” “Until they have a career.”
“Sacchi didi? (Really sister?)” were the words that barely came out of her lips while she fought the tears from showing up in front of three kids.