Sunday, May 8, 2011

Simpy, our maid’s daughter – Post 5


Back home in Kapurthala (where Aman’s parents live) we have a part time maid. Her story is no different from any of the hundreds of other maids. She is from Bihar and when poverty got the better of them, she along with her husband came to Punjab. While she works in multiple houses through the day, he squanders his time by gambling and drinking and then beating wife and children.

Among other children she has a daughter Simpy. When Aman and I got married, Simpy was a little girl of around 10 years. I remember her distinctly because of her energy and her smile. She didn’t know how old she was, just estimation. Simpy use to come home with her mom. She was pretty excited by the idea of a new bride coming into the house.

I have seen her grow a little older at each of my annual visit to Kapurthala. Last year, when I went to kapurthala my MIL told me that Simpy's marriage had been fixed. I was a little shocked considering she wouldn’t be more than 14 years. We tried talking to Simpy’s mother but to no avail. She was very happy because the groom was from their community, had a fruit stall and was well settled. She was convinced that he was a good match for her daughter.  She did ensure us that this marriage was just to ensure that the children don’t wander and get lured. The idea was that even after marriage Simpy would still stay with her parents. She would only move to her in-laws house after 3-4 years when she was older and matured. (Reference here is to the practice of Gauna where the marriage is consummated after several years of the actual ceremony)

Well, when I went to Kapurthala this February I was beyond my wits when I saw Simpy. She hadn’t been coming home with her mother and with all the wedding preparations even I had completely forgotten about her. Finally when I saw her I was stunned. She was pregnant, in less than a year of her marriage. At 15 odd years, she was an expectant mother. Just looking at her broke my heart in thousand pieces. This girl-woman suddenly looked all coy and embarrassed. She will have her baby anytime now.

We spoke a lot about CSA all of last month. What do we call something like this? When will this stop? Is anyone doing anything about it? 

13 comments:

SMM said...

It is indeed sad that kids are still married off. I guess there is also a safety aspect. As my maid once told me a 16 year old unmarried daughter living in a slum area is an open invitation to all the lecherous men

rashmi said...

Feeling bad for simpy..she herself is kid..how she will take care of another kid...

Deeps said...

Very sad and whats even sadder is that these practices dont seem to end. I remember a very similar incident with a maid some 11 years back. I was a newly-wed too when I met her at my inlaw's for the first time. She was a very chirpy lively little always willing to learn. R & I had even offered to sponsor her education but her parents were more keen to get her married off thereby ridding off their supposed 'burden'. She was a mere 14 year old when she got married and by 15 she was pregnant. Whats even worse she didnt survive that pregnancy.

And 11 years later with this incident that you have shared, where are we?? At the very same place still harboring the same regressive mentality. How much more depressing can it get?

Swaram said...

:( All those kids of the maid at my grandmas' - the ones many years younger than me and with whom I played during my vacations, are now mom to more than 1 kid :(
Wonder what is the way to bring abt a change!

Monika said...

God this pains me I had once written about a maid of mine who had first daughter when she was like 13 or so and the second when she was 15 :(

I really really dont know how to change this and who can, may be education, may be

Life Begins said...

Oh how painful it is to see all this happening around us when we choose to believe to be educated and modern. This is another topic which needs huge n serious attention.

Smitha said...

That is so sad.. I wonder when things will change at this level. It is most certainly abuse, but one that is condoned and supported by society :(

Iya said...

@ Sup - yes its very sad and getting them married is no solution. again its just the effect that is being "cured". when will the cause be eradicated??

@ Rashmi - indeed. when i saw her this feb, she looked lost. someone between childhood and adulthood...

@ Deeps - thats always a possibility with such young pregnancies. her mother had assured that even after marriage nothing wud change as simpy will continue to live in her parents home. but that didnt happen.

Iya said...

@ Monika - education, opportunities, and safety.. like sup said, a unmarried 16yr old daughter in slum area is always in danger..

Iya said...

@ Life Begins - yes, child marriage is a big big reality...

@ Smitha - the problem is this is not even seen as abuse.. its a way of life for them and society and govt turns a blind eye..

Mystic Margarita said...

It's tragic that child marriage still happens. And the worst part is that in many households it's nothing unusual - but the norm. :(

Rishi Bhatia said...

This is not new specially in the un-educated class. But what surprises me is, that similar incidents happened in the so called educated and literate class too. I had a couple of friends during my engineering, who were not even 18 when they had got married and were living with there wives. Seems that the laws are not applicable to all!!

Iya said...

@ Mystic - yes it is, although unlawful, it is still practiced.

@ Rishi - This is so strange. engg students getting married so early and living with spouses! and there are educated people. Gosh, its scary..