Nayagarh: As the world celebrates the Mother’s Day Sunday to honour the mothers for their selfless devotion in making us what we are, Ashamani Singh of Nayagarh awaits the day when her adult son will get back to normal and appreciate her efforts, if not celebrate the day.
A mother of two, Ashamani lives in Bodapada village of Laxmiprasad panchayat under Sadar block with her 25-year-old mentally challenged son Kanhu Charan and daughter Nalini apart from her own mother. Her husband Maheswar died way back when Kanhu was just five years old and Nalini was one.
In the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity, a strong woman as she is, she put up a brave face and vowed to raise her children and fend for all four of them come what may. The journey since then has never been easy.
All her dreams for a better life after her kids grow up was shattered after she noticed abnormality in Kanhu.
With him becoming older, he started behaving abnormally. He was obstinate and would throw whatever he got his hands on if his wishes were not fulfilled. At times, he remained away from home for two to three days.
While she mistook the abnormality as childish initially, it went beyond tolerance limits after he became nearly 17. That’s when she learnt of his mental illness and started a treatment course.
On the way, she sold everything at her disposal to cure her only son while still failing at it.
She says, a doctor from Cuttack told her that lakhs of rupees were needed to complete his treatment. As the amount was way beyond her reach, she was forced to discontinue his treatment midway through.
Now, she has no other option than to keep her own son in chains.
“Being a mother, I know what I feel when I see my son in chains,” she breaks down.
When asked since when Kanhu has been in chains, she adds, “It was 2014. One night Kanhu left home without any information. Despite a frantic search, we were not able to find him anywhere. I even sought the help of police to get my only son back to no avail. After a painful gap of three long years, in 2017, some villagers spotted him roaming aimlessly in Balasore. I rescued him from there and since then I have been keeping him in chains, fearing he might just go somewhere else again.”
Kanhu has been fettered for nearly two-and-a-half years now.
That not only wrecks her emotionally, but also breaks her physically as restraining a 25-year-old male is never an easy task for someone her age. This apart, she has to help him conduct the day’s business including brush, bath, dress, eat among others – just like a baby.
They live in their half-built house. Despite her little education, she understands the value of education like any other literate mother. That is why she continues her daughter’s education. Nalini is in her final year of Plus III Arts in Nayagarh Autonomous College.
The family survives on the 35 kilograms of rice that she gets as her government provided ration and Rs 300 as Kanhu’s pension. Since Ashamani has none to give her company, her mother continues to live with her.
Despite all the odds, Ashamani has not given up hope.
She still believes that someday the Almighty will listen to her prayer and cure her son. “My son getting back to normal will be the most precious gift for me,” she says in a chocking voice this Mother’s Day while combing Kanhu.