By Saikat Das:
We all strive for a “good and happy” life. We struggle to achieve the same. But sometimes struggle sinks its teeth so deep that it becomes an integral part of one’s life. Among millions of those struggling, here’s the story of one, her name is Shamali Kalita.
Hailing from Udharbond, adjacent to Silchar, Assam, Shamali too had a happy family which nestled her husband, two sons and a daughter. Her husband was a cab driver in Aizawl and he used to make decent contribution to his family.
It was in 1990, when despair shattered the family for the first time. Her oldest son, Sumantak, died at school at the age 16 without showing prior illness. It took time for Shamali to come out from the sudden demise of her dear son. But destiny had more such shocks to offer.
One day, when Shamali was busy with her household chores, she received the news which she would never have expected. Her husband had met with a fatal accident in Aizawl and was dead. The family was numb and responsibilities piled up on Shamali.
End of the millennium saw Shamali make an attempt towards revival. Even though she used to sell newspapers even before her marriage, life after her husband’s death was more challenging and the job a necessity. Through all these years, Shamali went on to fulfill her family’s needs, letting her son study and getting her daughter married.
Shamali’s seems like tragedy’s favourite child. While living at Jhalupara for many years, her house was burnt to ash following an unfortunate fire incident, after which they moved to Udharbond.
A sexagenarian with a frail frame, Shamali travels around 30 km everyday from Udharbond to Silchar and back. She walks around the city selling newspapers.
Tragedy struck her again when she lost her daughter to a bus accident in 2014 on the dangerous Guwahati – Silchar road, giving her struggle an all-new blow.
Presently, Shamali’s only son Suman is in his his mid-twenties and she is turning every stone possible to get him a job. Every day is a challenge for her, a challenge to keep herself going, to cover the distance between just surviving and maybe one day achieving happiness.
Shamali Kalita, who believes in “a peaceful needy life than a chaotic rich one” is a living inspiration for an era which runs on fingertips.