Keonjhar: It is normal for people here to see a woman with a stockpile of wood on her head and a child bound tightly walking down the hills to reach this place. She then visits the local market, unties the baby from her body and puts her to sleep so that she can concentrate on selling the wood. Scorching sun or rain or hail doesn’t matter, what matters is the money… then she can feed her baby.
The common sight, however, turns special on ‘Mother’s Day’. For these mothers who walk 10-15 kilometres daily with heavy bags and material and with their babies tied to their back or in the front, ‘Mother’s Day’ really don’t mean much. But they, like every doting mother, try and protect their baby, take up the gruelling walk to see smiles on the faces of their babies.
It is the affection these mothers demonstrate that deserves a royal salute. Walking on the arduous terrain, they suffer… sometimes they step on a sharp thorn or stumble after failing to notice a protruding stone. Yet, as they fall or suffer the pain, their first aim is to see no harm befalls the baby. This courage, this love all becomes apparent when one notices these moms on ‘Mother’s Day’.
At the market, they cry themselves hoarse trying to sell their products. Once done a smile lights up the face of the mother… no not the Mona Lisa smile… but may be a thousand times more beautiful than the painting. It is a smile which depicts the story of her success… now she has the money to fulfil the requirements of the baby.
Their plights, however, do not find a place in many stories and seminars which mark Mother’s Day. But then the mothers here are no less extra-ordinary, their courage and determination worth saluting.
Some senior citizens here said that the district administration should at least build a shelter home for the kids.
“The government has launched several welfare programmes for safety and care of mothers and their children. But then it probably is not aware of the plight of some of the mothers in this district,” said a senior citizen.
“If the town had a shelter home or a crèche, then at least these mothers could deposit their babies and carry out their daily chores. Wouldn’t that have been great,” observed another localite.