I already introduced you to Babita and Seema, who live with their family out on the family’s fields. Babita’s uncle is the father of another three girls of our school: Gayatri, Triveni and Bhudevi. Soon their younger sister Sapana will also join them and go to the lower pre-school class.
Gayatri is fifteen years old, Triveni is eleven, Bhudevi nine and Sapana seven. Gayatri is in the 5th class of our school, Triveni and Bhudevi are in the 2nd class. They have two younger siblings, a girl of five years and a boy of three years. On the first glance, it is the typical case of parents having five daughters in the effort and with the wish of having one boy. That in itself is something that is incomprehensible to most people, considering that they are poor and cannot afford sending their children to a normal school. When you get to know their family better however, there is another aspect to this, which makes it even more difficult to understand: these children’s father is mentally disturbed.
Gayatri’s mother tells us that they married 21 years ago. Approximately 18 years ago, two years before the birth of their eldest daughter Gayatri, he started having fits and got crazy for time periods in between sanity. The gaps in between fits got shorter and finally he just seemed to behave strangely the whole time. The family took him to local doctors, to doctors in Agra and in Delhi, he took lots of medication but nothing helped – he seems to be living in another world, walks around the whole day doing nothing or following the ideas of a disturbed mind.
With this man, who cannot anymore drive his ox wagon, who cannot go to work, who cannot earn money, the girls’ mother had six children. Probably, had the first one been a boy, she would have one only.
Now they are supported by the seven siblings of Gayatri’s father, get their grains from the field that they are living by and sell the milk of their buffalo cow. Sometimes there are enough grains or vegetables to sell something as well but as the field also belongs to eight people together, it is not easy to agree who will get the money. All in all, the family mostly has about 35 US-Dollars in a month. For eight people to live on.
Nevertheless, these girls are among the jolliest students of our school. They live out there in nature, surrounded by greenery and only disturbed sometimes by the occasional snake coming by. In school, the two younger girls always stick together with their cousins Seema and Babita while Gayatri has some best friends in her own class.