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By Jyoti Chahar:
I come from a small village called Giravar (near Jhajjar) in Haryana. My mother was married off at a very young age, and at the age of 14, she gave birth to me. At that time, girls were not educated much and our relatives believed girls are only meant to take care of the household.
But my parents wanted us to fulfil our dreams, and so, they boldly went against everyone, left the big house we had in the village, and moved to Najafgarh in Delhi. Here, we started living in a small room on rent.
Back then, we had nothing. My dad used to be out for work all day and our mother raised us against all odds, facing all problems herself, while my two sisters and I completed our studies from a government school.
When my cousins got married at the age of 15, all of them were younger than me. My relatives started pressuring my parents to get me married off as well, but with my mother’s support, I didn’t give in.
Around this time, life threw the biggest and the most unexpected curveball at us – my father met with a gruesome road accident, just about managing to escape death. However, he suffered from complete memory loss. As a family, this was the worst phase of our lives. The thought of losing your father is enough to break the strongest of people, and this emotional trauma was draining enough for me to immediately stop chasing my dreams. Moreover, it is very difficult to put into words that feeling you get when your eyes meet your father’s and he doesn’t recognise you, or for that matter, his own self… and every single day, looks at you like you are a stranger.
Most relatives boycotted us in fear of having to support us financially or even just emotionally. Being weak financially, we could manage to get only his ICU treatment from the hospital, with just a few near ones lending us money for costly medicines and other necessary tests. That loan too kept piling on me, with no hope of a new job or any other monetary help. It was painful to see that money was falling short for even food and daily rations to keep us hopeful for better days ahead.
I kept on looking for a job, an internship, anything to help me support my family. It was like sinking deeper day after day, with my father making many attempts to run away, as he felt he was living in confinement with a bunch of strangers who took care of him. He also went missing twice and as life turned out, one day he left – to never return.
That day, a part of me went missing too… After exhausting all our energy and resources, we gave up hopes of finding him – but kept praying that he would return on his own.
At the same time, I kept on giving job interviews, believing in myself and reminding myself of the sacrifice my parents had made for us. Finally, after living broke for nearly three months, I landed a job at a big media house. This helped me slowly get rid of the loan my family owed and also gave me the motivation to start my own blog.
I was a full-time employee by day and blogger by night. After some time, I was fired on the pretext of cost-cutting, but I never gave up on my blog and worked hard for it day and night.
My family and I have continued looking for my father on weekends, around the area where he went missing. We still don’t know where he is, but wherever he is, he’s giving me the strength and blessings to move ahead in life. Today, I can financially support my family because of my blog, which got a big push on UC News, especially among Hindi readers, and people know and like my work. I am happy I believed in myself and in the power of touching people’s lives by sharing my stories.