sulabh swatchh bharat

Monday, 20-May-2019


Promila was not sure why she wanted to leave home. It just felt right and now she is glad

Promila Viswas roams the streets of Vrindavan and she loves making incense sticks.
“My eyes are a little weak so I am not able to do sewing a lot, but making incense sticks… that is something I enjoy. Something I love doing. Apart from these I read Bhagavad Gita, do jaap, bhajan…” she would tell her daily schedule beamingly, each time you ask her.
But it was not always like this.
Promila originally belongs to Orissa. She was mere 12 years old when she was married to an 18-year-old boy. The still-in-naïve-age-couple, however, took up on this new phase of life. In course of time, they had a daughter and a son. While her husband would sweat on farm fields to earn bread for the family, Promila would lovingly take care of her two children. In all, it was a small and happy family.
Time went by. The children grew up. The couple married them off as lavishly as they could.
Then one night, the lesser expected happened. A snake bit Promila’s husband. Before she could do anything about it, the poison fast spread across his entire body and took his life. Everything happened so quickly that Promila could not process it for some time. Everything was going smooth. She and her husband were happily living, having performed all their duties towards their children, leading a peaceful, relaxing and merry life. Then one incident, and everything was over. Forever.
Promila now started leading the mundane, colourless life of a widow. She started to accept that her life was now this only. But not much time had passed that another sad and devastating news knocked on Promila’s door.
This time it was her daughter. Not of much age, her beloved ‘little’ girl passed away. She had given birth to a baby girl who not many days after her birth was left mother-less. So Promila took upon the task of taking care of her granddaughter. She put the sorrows of widow-hood on a pause and instead acted a mother to the baby. She looked after her and the baby got attached to her grandmother.
Five years passed in a blink of eyes. The baby was a little grown now, so Promila took the difficult decision here. She handed over the baby’s responsibilities to her son-in-law and decided to resume her widow-life. She had heard about Vrindavan and that the place is home to many other widows like her and that is where she packed herself to.
It’s been seven years since Promila has been living in Vrindavan.
“Initially I used to visit Vrindavan on a two-month basis. Then I used to sing bhajans in Mirabai Ashram and stay at Gurukul. It was seven years ago that I decided to settle down here. That is when I ended up in Sulabh-assisted Ma Sharda Mahila Ashram. Here, Lal Baba (alias of Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International Social Service Organisation) takes care of everything. Yes, my granddaughter misses me a lot. Whenever I visit her, she would want me to stay back. She says that I am yet alive and even so she feels as though her grandmother is not there anymore with her. But I did what I had to. I had to give my widowhood an aim to live through the daily monotone.”
Promila chooses to look at the bright side of any situation. And that is why she gets all excited when asked about her daily routine now. It’s bhajans, Geeta path, cooking and immersing herself in God’s presence is what she is happy about. And yes, incense sticks – their aroma keep her calm.
“I have never seen God, but I can feel his presence here. I can feel him in everyone and everything. Isn’t God in everyone? You, me, everyone! You just have to look closely with a pure heart. And that is what Vrindavan has taught me. When I left home, I was not sure why am I doing this. But now I know. I was to understand the true presence of God.”