Her primary concern was, “While I was lucky to survive a child birth in my teenage years, all girls are not as lucky. Every day, girls die from complication arising from child birth. What is in store for them?”
“I used to play about with the other kids of the house after marriage, did not quite understand the meaning of the nuptials,” Santana joyfully remembers.
“I would go alone and sit with the Panchayat or other senior members of the village, talk to school going kids and enlighten them. Sometimes, I tried to bring awareness among the men as well. While some of them understood, others took offense and would not listen to me. But now everyone listens to me,” says Santana.
He says, “We did not train Santana to do or speak anything, but she learned it herself, because of what she suffered.”
“This is an alarming situation at hand, these kids do not understand the implications of an early marriage. They fall in love and are ready to give up studies and their homes, and no one cares about them since it is not done forcibly,” Santana says.
“This number is mostly for the friends of the expected bride, who get the cue and call us to inform us of the ‘running away’ plans of their friends,” says Suman.
She breaks into a giggle, and says, “There are many silver plates that I have received and other certificates, but I don’t know what they are for, and what is the use of such recognition if I do not have money to execute anything. They are just bright pieces of metal decorating my cupboard.”
This story was originally published in The Better India.