AND THEN SHE DIED

This is a human drama - the story of Maya, born in a village in South India into a poor family. Circumstances force her to come to Bombay as a child of ten years.

Maya sets out to live her life in very trying conditions at a tender age. Her chance meeting with Gokuldas, her future husband, brings some respite to her otherwise dreary life. They are a very loving couple. Gokuldas tends to stray which leads to corrosion in the relationship. His cruel streak surfaces and manifests itself till it could no longer be borne by Maya.

This is a story of courage, determination, loss and triumph of an illiterate woman born in poverty and thrown to the wolves by circumstances of her birth and birth-place. This story will give hope to countless women who compromise with their circumstances and remain where they are. It encourages a destitute woman to no longer be chained to her fate but create her own fate and her own life. Some succeed …. some keep on trying……some die!

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9. SCHOOL DAYS

Gokuldas began to learn the alphabets of the Kannada language. While he spoke Tulu, a dialect, at home, in the then non-formed state of Mysore, which is known as Karnataka today, people spoke Kannada or Kanarese as it was then known. He was a fast learner and soon spoke incredibly well. He adopted and maintained a very good hand-writing. His grasp on mathematics was simply great. His teachers adored him, his parents did not understand his abilities and hence it was fishing, net repairs or tending to the plants and cattle after school.

 

Once, when he was about ten years old, the hurricane lantern which was providing bright light by burning kerosene under pressure conked off and the night was spent in darkness. The next day Gokuldas got up determined to get the hurricane lantern working, so that he could study in the night. He opened and fiddled the mechanism, found what could be wrong, and sorted out a solution which his young brains said would work. And it worked! He did not spend the nights in darkness in the village again and he was known to be a person with a knack to set faulty appliances right. Soon the villagers brought to him various appliances which they felt he could set in order and Gokuldas did his best and succeeded most of the times. He had found a vocation. He knew that he would grow up to be a mechanic and not a fisherman like his father.

 

Getting first rank in the school was child’s play to the child. But the fact was that he had joined schooling late and hence due to his age he was always a shade better than the other students in his class who had started schooling at the right time. He also was disadvantaged due to the fact that his parents were illiterate, did not care about schooling and his teachers had limited resources both in their ability to impart knowledge and for the facilities in the school.

 

The local school had only classes upto the fifth standard and if Gokuldas had to study further he had to go to a different school which was about 8 miles away from his home. Eight miles means about 13 kilometres and it was not possible to walk this distance for the young lad on 13 years. His father could not afford a cycle or the fare of half-anna for the local rickety buses that went upto the town where the new school would be. Purushottam was not interested in Gokuldas’s further education, but his headmaster was very keen that Gokuldas study further.

 

One day the headmaster caught Gokuldas playing in the nearby fields and asked him to go home and wash himself clean and put on some clean clothes. Gokuldas, always in awe of the headmaster, just did as he was bid. The headmaster just bundled him on a rickety bus and took him to the town and met the principal of the school there and showed him Gokuldas’s reports. The principal was impressed and granted Gokuldas a freeship and thus Gokuldas began his higher education far away from home. Only one problem remained ….. His father did not appreciate the same and also forbade Gokuldas from going to the distant town for his studies.

 

Anyway the problem was solved by Gokuldas simply running away from his home the next day with his school bag with him. When Purushottam did not find Gokuldas around the next day he worried a lot and then onwards did not forbid Gokuldas from his schooling when Gokuldas, reached home from school late in the evening very tired. He had walked to and fro his school! Sixteen miles on foot in one day by this young strapping lad!

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