A long road to freedom

by Sr. Noelline Pinto

What a shocking surprise met my eyes as I entered the H.O.P.E. Building one morning; sprawled on the floor was a battered and bruised women with a bleeding gash on her forehead. By her side were two equally forlorn and tearful little boys; fear large as life in their eyes. So drained was she of energy, she could not speak. I rendered her first aid and fed them some wholesome food. Revived a bit she unfolded falteringly her pityfull story:

She was born in Lingayt (priestly) family in a small town in Kartanaka. Her's was child marriage, rather a cradle marriage to her toddler. Unfortunately her child husband died at the age of nine. Sharanama was doomed to be a widow all her life. Her state of widow hood imposed on her many privations – no schooling, no outdoor life, denied every form of enjoyment. Her family was well to do, they were land owners. Now her brother is a lawyer. Then she was denied formal education. In her confinement she a mate to take care of her, she had a grown up sun, named Shivram, who would sometimes accompany the mother to the house. Sharanama, now an adolecent, fell in love with him and both erroped to Puna. They lived happily for some years, had four children, two of them died as infants.

The marital bliss did not last long, Shivram abandoned Sharanama for another women; resorted to violence, brutality and mental torture. She took refuge in some places, but he stalked her with his persecution. On the morning she came to H.O.P.E. He had asoulted her brutally.

Sharanama and her two boys, Kalu and Balu were admitted in H.O.P.E.'s midway home, MAHER for battered women. There they went through physical and psychological healing. Sharanama was placed as a domestic helper in good families. Kalu and Balu found a home in the SOS village, where they finished their high school and did a diploma technical institute. At the age of 18 they left SOS home and joined their mother, who flouting the norm's of her caste remarried an honest man, who is a security in a small company. The sons are well employed. The family lives in the quarters of the company. Sharanama's dream is to purchase a small plot of land and build her own house and make it a happy home for her family. May she realize her dream!!