(Gurugram) “I lost my dad when I was 12 years old. My dad suffered from brain tumor. He was on bed rest for the last four years of his life and my mother took care of him. For four years, my mother’s life totally changed and revolved just around my dad. She had to send my brother away to my grandparents home where he could get better care. It was the toughest part of her life. My dad passed away in 2007, and as a result my mom suffered severe depression and she had to get help. The psychiatrist told my mother that if she did not move from the house where we were living, then she won’t recover. So that’s when my mother and I moved to Ajmer to my grandparents place. It was the hardest part of my life as well because I had recently lost a parent and my mother was regularly having epileptic fits. Every morning I used to get up with fear that when I would come back from school, I would hear that, “Your mother is no more”. I fought with that fear for quite a long time. I never cried in front of my mother because her condition was bad and I was her support system.
I remember the last time my dad spoke to me. I was studying and my back was towards him. He asked me “Are you studying?” and I said, “Yes” and then he responded “Study well”. I had no clue what he was going through. Everyone in the family knew that he was at his last stage but I didn’t know. It was my exam time and my only response was “OK, Dad”. I didn’t even turn around. Those were the last words I heard from him. A few days later he passed away. I feel bad sometimes but then that’s part of life.
Prior to my father’s illness, my mother was a very bubbly and warm person and she loved meeting people and talking all the time but during her depression, she went into a shell and stopped talking. She feared going to market places or any crowded areas. She is still on medications, even after 11 years. Then we faced another loss when my grandfather (my mother’s father) died. It was another jolt for her. She had lost her two pillars. I live in a joint family so every one of us supported her.
My mother had a good academic record and she used to be the school captain. She was very ambitious and had always dreamt of doing something good for the society. With the help of my family, my mother started an NGO, Shri Vishwa Karma Mahila Udyog. It is an entirely women run organisation that provides financial assistance to women. Currently, there are about 10-12 women who are trained in creating handicrafts and tailoring which helps them live a better life. Since this is an NGO, she doesn’t earn any profit out of it but there is happiness on her face now. Her work is being recognised, and now she goes to markets, meets new people, develops relationship with them.
She is a strong woman and now a member of government committee that approves installation of sonographic machines in hospitals. I feel very proud of her struggles and successes and I share her story with everyone.
Mental health is an issue which is not well understood in our society. Some people used to say that my mother may be faking it. She used to cry all of a sudden and or her hands used to go numb. Sometimes we even had to make emergency visits to doctors. She was unable to control her emotions and she still can’t deal with news related to death. She is taking medications for her depression and yet people don’t understand.
I am very bubbly and ambitious person. I travelled to Delhi three years back. I always wanted to study in one of the top institutions in the country. The first two years in Delhi were life changing because I had always been the pampered child at home and lived in the bubble of a small city. In Delhi, I counted every little thing as an achievement, for example, crossing the big road by myself for the first time, swiping up my first ATM card, traveling in a subway metro all by myself. I volunteered for an organisation where I headed a project for child and women empowerment. I went to various government schools and gave presentation on “good touch” and “bad touch” and covered around 9-10 schools. I trained other volunteers and juniors to give this presentation and how to make it more interactive.
Currently, I am living my dream. I am the International Student Community Manager at Internshala.”
(Find out more about Internshala here: https://internshala.com)