Dreams and dedication are a powerful combination.
– William Longgood –
Neetaben, the one we call Lady Inspiration, daily proves the above quote true.
Neetaben is a 37-year-old lady based in Vangaon, a small village which is 21 kilometers away from Dahanu on the border of Maharashtra and Gujarat, India. She lives with her husband and two children, Nikita and Rohit.
Neetaben starts her day before the dawn at 4 am every day and gets into her daily routine. She cleans the entire house and washes the clothes. She prepares food and packs everyone’s tiffin including her own before leaving the house. “Yeh sab karke Mujhe 5.50 tak railway station pahuchna padta hai”(I’ve to complete all the chores and reach the railway station by 5.50 am).
At 6 am, Neetaben catches a train from Vangaon station and arrives at Andheri. “Dahanu mein zyada paise milte nahi. Mumbai sapno ka sheher hai. Agar mujhe apne bade bade sapne pure karne hai aur paise bachaane hai, toh Mumbai jaana hi sabse behtar hai. Vangaon mein sab kuch sasta hai aur main apne kaam se kaafi paise kama leti hu”(I cannot earn a lot in Dahanu. Mumbai is the city of dreams and if I want to fulfill mine, working here is the best option. I can earn enough to save too. Cost of living is much lower in Vangaon than Mumbai, so effectively I’m earning a lot.)
She reaches Andheri at 8 am and walks all the way to Veera Desai area, which is 2.7 kilometers away from the station. She walks to and fro from the station every day, which takes about 25 to 30 minutes one way. Starting at 8.30 am, she works at 10 places including a parlor till 3.30pm. She mainly does household work like washing the utensils, sweeping and wiping the floor and dusting.
Once done with work at 3.30 pm, she sits to learn English from the daughter of a lady whose place she works at. Interested in reading and writing, she loves learning the language and dedicatedly sits to do the same every day. “English seekhna mera sabse bada sapna hai. Aur ab woh dheere dheere pura ho raha hai”(Learning English is my biggest dream and it is finally getting fulfilled.)
Catching a train at 5 pm from Andheri, she reaches home by 7.30 pm and cooks food. Washes the utensils and goes off to sleep for the same cycle the next day.
“Ghar kaam mein koi weekend nahi hota. Saare saat din kaam karna padta hai. Sunday ko bhi. Mahine ki sirf do chhutti milti hai”(Household work doesn’t have the concept of weekends. I have to work even on Sundays. I only get 2 paid leaves a month.)
Neetaben has not only been working towards her own dreams but also has made life a lot better for her family. With her hard work and dedication, she recently renovated her entire house. She sponsors education for her daughter and also bought a laptop for her to learn computer applications and software. She fulfills all the big and small dreams of her children like buying them smartphones or getting a television for the house.
This lady from a rural village in India is a testimony to how powerful women are and that no geographical location, gender, or economic status can stop one from chasing their dreams and shining above everyone else.