STEPPING INTO THE LIGHT
If things had gone according to plan, Ashish’s father would have come home as promised to the family. But tragedy struck only days before the planned holiday when he succumbed to injuries at the hands of a brutal Maoist attack. While he was supposed to come home bearing smiles and gifts, he instead came home in a box wrapped in the tricolour.
From here on started the most difficult phase of Ashish and his family’s lives. Without his father Ashish, the eldest son, felt lost and alone. He went into depression and failed his 10thboard exams.
But things have changed since then and the family has wobbled back on its feet. We met Ashish and his family in their village home in Bihar and saw a positive light on their faces. He otherwise stays with this maternal aunt in the city.
Today Ashish is a 15-year old cheerful boy with goals and aspirations. The young man is keen on completing his education and is continuing his studies through an Open School in the city. “I will appear for my 10th exams again and to do well I take tuitions in many subjects“, he said with a glint in his eyes. He aims to join the Indian Army.
When asked about his father his face fell a little but he went on to narrate the fun times spent with his father. He enjoyed spending Chhat Puja with his entire family, as that was the one time in the year his father came home for sure. “Now the festivals will never be the same”, he lamented. “Being the eldest son I have a lot of responsibilities now. I was used to being pampered but now suddenly I have obligations”, he said, adding that his two siblings look up to him and he is proud to be able to guide them.
His mother is the anchor of the family and Ashish is very close to her. “She is a strong woman and because of her, we have come out of grieving. She has to look after her in-laws and after us; she does everything for her family’s happiness”, he said looking proudly towards her.
If there is one thing important for Ashish’s mother it is education. She admitted to facing difficulties for being uneducated and doesn’t want her children to share the same fate. That is why she sent all her three children to the city to their maternal aunt’s house to study.
“I am very busy in the village taking care of my ailing father – in – law but it gives me peace to know that my children are well taken care of my sister. We are lucky to have a supportive family”, she said with a bright smile.
All she aspires for is to see her children shine the name of their father.