In this edition of Ghanateya Dudimegaagi Naavu Manushyaru, RJ Radha speaks to Sandhya.
Sandhya hails from a poor family based in the town of Chikmaglur in Karnataka. The daughter of a coffee estate worker, she was forced to quit her studies after the 7th standard to work with her mother, the sole breadwinner in the house. Family life was tough for the mother and the children because of the presence of an unemployed, alcoholic father. At the young age of 15, Sadhya decided to shift to Bengaluru, as a job in a garment factory promised better pay. She had to subsist in the city without proper housing or support, but she managed to save up some money.
Things flipped, however, when an autorickshaw driver began stalking her. Sandhya resisted his advances but ultimately was so fearful for her safety that she had to return home. The stalker followed her to Chikmaglur, declaring his love to the family and neighbours. The parents agreed to get the two married; Sandhya was only 16-years-old then. The young couple went on to have two children.
Unfortunately for Sandhya, her family history came back to haunt her and her children. Her husband gave into a life of alcoholism and stopped supporting the family. He kicked them all out one day in a drunken fit. On her own again, Sandhya was approached by multiple men, all eager to help but only in exchange for sexual favours. The reality of her situation and the parallels with her own mother’s experiences hit Sandhya hard. “I had seen my mother suffer all her life, and now, the exact same thing was happening to me as well!”
Sandhya resisted and held strong, but the constant threat of sexual harassment pushed her to consider sex work as a survival option. But for her, this phase didn’t last long. An old acquaintance introduced her to a young man, who later became her second husband. Today, Sandhya is happily married, while her two children live with their father.
Sandhya, all of 22 and in spite of her tough journey, has big dreams for her life. She strives for stability and happiness, things that her mother never had and for which she had to fight so hard.
Listen in to know more about Sandhya…
Written by Shruti Sharada.