Three visually-impaired women share their stories about hard-word, sacrifices and diligence that makes them true supermoms
An epitome of selfless love and care, a mother will always be special for her child. On the occasion of Mother's Day, we meet three gumptious women who have beaten all odds to rear their children. With tremendous hard-work and persistence, they may look ordinary, but look closely and you will notice that they are visually-impaired. We share their stories.
Alka and Swapnil Kamble
Looking resplendent in a parrot-green and pink salwar kameez, 48-year-old Alka Kamble is comfortably seated with her son Swapnil by her side. The mother of this 21-year-old met her husband Suresh and got married in her early twenties. An instructor with NSD Industrial Home for the Blind, an agency that provides vocational help for the visually impaired, Suresh's was a love marriage.
A few years into their marriage, their son Swapnil was born. About his birth, Alka says, "When the doctors told us that our son's eyesight is alright, we were relieved. I told myself that I was going to see the world through his eyes."
A senior telephone operator with MTNL for the last 28 years, Alka has always been a working mother. She reminisces about her childhood days and shares, "We were seven sisters with one brother. Though I was born blind, I never felt bereft of sight as I went to a normal school and performed well in exams."
Her excellence in academics reflects well on her son Swapnil who completed his diploma in mechanical engineering and now works at the Godrej and Boyce company. About his mother, the doting son says, "I have never been treated differently by my parents. In spite of the many difficulties they faced, they provided me everything. I truly love them and it's entirely my responsibility to care for them in their old-age."
Neelam and Tejas Vinkare
Kandivali resident, Neelam Vinkare was born healthy, but at six years of age, a mysterious fever took her sight away. Raised by her grandparents, Neelam is a graduate in Marathi literature with a healthy work experience. Together with her late husband Bhimrao, she has an 18-year-old son Tejas.
Starting out as an assistant at the Andheri Blind Home, Vinkare's first job included duster making, weaving and tailoring and she later went on to operate a telephone booth. Bhimrao meanwhile worked as a door-to-door salesman selling household items. After her husband's death at the age of 47, Neelam became the sole breadwinner of the family and Tejas was her biggest support system.
Currently the teenager is studying arts at Ruia College and aspires to become a newspaper reporter, while Neelam continues to work at the booth. She makes Rs 1500 per month and confesses that life is tough.
"With the advent of mobile phones, telephone booths do not make much business anymore," says Neelam. Tejas adds, "Moreover, the booth is located in the vicinity of a college and rowdy youngsters often trouble my mother by snatching chocolates or biscuits without paying any money." The adoring son therefore accompanies her mother to the shop each day and thanks his mom for her love and sacrifice. He says, "Even in face of adversity, my mother insisted that I continue education. I intend to pursue night college and am searching for a day job to sustain us," he said.
Sharda and Monika Khatnawne
Until her mid-twenties, 45-year-old Diva resident Sharda Khatnawne had an eyesight. "When I was close to twenty-five years old, my vision started decreasing. The doctors said that my optical nerve was rapidly drying up. For two years, we visited many hospitals but in vain," says the 45-year-old.
A mother to Ganesh (24), Kanchan (19) and Monika (17), Sharda was already a married woman when she lost her vision. "It became difficult to carry on household work. To adjust to a life of darkness was an unprecedented challenge," she says.
Sharda's husband is a cobbler, and money is hard to come by. "To sustain a family of five is often troublesome, but I have ensured that my children turn entrepreneurial," she tells us.
Over the years, she has become used to leading a life without sight but is still a hands-on mother. "I help my daughter in her tailoring job, to mend clothes and whatever else they require," she says.