Daughter of domestic help secures admission in UK college

The President mentioned in a public speech that women are often a cause of domestic violence directed against maid-servants. This important issue of abuse of maids has not been covered enough. And, in a gritty story, a single mother has not abused her children, and encouraged the daughter to secure admission in an UK college.

What about other single women in India, who are abusing their children and discouraging them constantly?

Daughter of domestic help secures admission in UK college
11 Jan 2009

MUMBAI: From a tenement in Kanjurmarg, adjusting sleeping hours to study and watching her single mother work over 12 hours a day as a domestic
help to make ends meet, 21-year-old Varlaxmi Pillai has overcome many an obstacle to secure herself admission in a UK college.

“It was difficult at times while I was growing up. My father expired when I was five-years-old and my mother had to bring up my brother and me,” Varlaxmi said. Her mother Shanta initially worked in a small biscuit factory but to supplement the family’s income doubled up as a domestic help as well, she said.

“However, she always wanted both my brother and me to study and encouraged us,” Varlaxmi, who will be doing her Master’s in International Business and Management, said. Studying at home, a one room tenement in suburban Kanjurmarg, was never easy for Varlaxmi who had to adjust her study timings in order to accommodate other members of her family and fluctuating electricity supply.

“Electricity was a problem since whenever I wanted to study we would not have power. Also, I had the habit of studying late into the night which was inconvenient for others so I would sometimes get up early and study outside the house,” she said. Sleeping sometimes at 1 am and waking at 4 am to study, Varlaxmi, on certain occasions, spent the entire day studying in the college library.

“I had to study when there was no sound of television and other distractions. But I was always clear on what I wanted and I knew I would do whatever it took,” Varlaxmi said. Among her main sources of motivation she cites are her mother, travel author Meher Moos and her college principal Dr Indu Shahani.

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