Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Mother's Pride

She did not have a watch. She knew it was still seven o'clock in the morning, by the lazy pink sky. Her son was leaning on her shoulder, sleepy and tired with the five hour journey they traveled in the bus. Feeling sorry for him, she stroked his hair.

'Must be hungry' she thought, but she didn't know where to buy a piece of bread and some tea for him to have. She hardly knew where she was, let alone finding something to eat. Asking her way from kind strangers she met on the way, somehow she ended up on the hospital bench. The corridor started getting busy gradually. The uniformed staff scurrying past her did not know, that she was here from Rikillagaskada with her six year old son who could not understand what was being taught in the village school. They did not know, that she was widowed five years back or that she struggled each day to find a morsel to eat for her sons. Neither did they understand the pain in her weak heart which made her stop work which earned her a couple of hundred rupees a day. She would rest for a few minutes and get back to work knowing that she  was the only one who is there to provide for her children. 

She did not complain though, she somehow got her son to the best place that he can get help. She felt proud of herself, because many women in her village would not have attempted coming to the big vast city of Colombo by themselves for the first time. The doctor who visited the school has seen her two sons and asked both of them to be taken to the big hospital in Colombo, to see why they did not know how to read or write. Neither could she, but nobody bothered about it then, maybe because she never went to school. She didn’t want the same fate for her sons.

Since then she has been collecting money to earn the bus fair to Colombo and back and enough to cover for the expenses for the days she will be out of work.

Money would not find its way on its own, but hunger did....always.

She was dragged back to reality by the hurried voice calling her son's name. She had to tell that her elder son was sick because she did not want to explain that she didn’t have enough money to bring both of them right now. she was shown a room where her son was seen by a doctor who after many questions, half of which she barely understood claimed that he had "nutritional deficiencies" which happened to be due to lack of good things to eat. Apparently it has got something to do with the fact that he was bad with books.

She knew she did her best to feed her sons, in every way she can. She had been working in the field each day, despite her ailing heart  to keep her family from starvation. Tears rolled down washing the pride she felt earlier in the morning...

P.s - This happens to be just one of the many sad stories that unfold daily in front of people working in healthcare in Sri Lanka. I was going through my pictures today and this particular picture brought back the memories of the sad face of the child in this story. I have shared this picture once in my blog in colour. I thought this story relates more to a picture of monochrome. So, please bear with me about the reproduction of the picture.


  1. What a heartrending tale SM, feel so sad for the mother who struggles to survive with all these obstacles. And true, you've been meeting patients from all walks of life every day for many years, and each with a tale filled of their own troubles and woes.

    Do share more stories like this, along with photos too. And yeah, I really like this sepia toned pic, cause it gives off sad emotions.

  2. Lots of mothers' stories are same as this. I can give you thousands examples. No need to go Rikillagaskada. No need to go that far. Just 30-40 km away from Colombo is more than enough to have an idea. They think they are happy. We think they are unhappy and live in a hell. Some may think that is the life. Whatever say by whoever, people with sensitive hearts can not be happy seeing those. But what we can do? How do we get rid of this? Do we have to see those and weep everyday? Not only leaders or politicians of the country. Everyone together must work on finding a solution for this suffering. We too must do something in our level or capabilities. We have a responsibility for that. We must do something to do today to bring all these causes of making articles like this to end. Otherwise everyday all of are suffering.