Once upon a time, a woman called Suchita lived in a little village. She had a baby daughter called Sanjita, whom she loved very much. She had to work very hard to get enough money for food; she was very poor. Her house was made of wood, plastered with a mixture of mud and dung. The roof hadn't any tiles, only straw. In summer it was very hot. She had no shoes, and when the ground got very hot she could feel the sand hot under her feet, and would sometimes get blisters.

One day Suchita went to collect bidi leaves to sell. She left Sanjita at home. As she was coming home, she saw that her house was on fire. She ran to the house as fast as she could because Sanjita was inside. She never thought about herself, she just ran in to save her baby. She bent over Sanjita to protect her, and ran outside.

Sanjita was unhurt, but Suchita was very badly burnt. Her burns healed, but she was scarred all over, and her face became very ugly.

When Sanjita grew older, Suchita scraped together enough money to send her to a good boarding school. She visited her every Saturday.

Sanjita was very pretty, and she had lots of friends. When her friends saw how ugly her mother was, they teased her.

Sanjita was very sad, and decided not to see her mother any more. When Suchita came to see her, Sanjita sent a message with a friend, saying that she didn't want to see her. Suchita tried a few times to see Sanjita. She came and sat by the side of the road, close to the school hostel, and waited, and hoped her daughter would come by.

Eventually Suchita gave up hope, and stopped coming to try to see her daughter.

Nobody can begin to comprehend the sadness of that woman.

©Grace Semmens 1997

See Home Sweet Home for a picture of a house very similar to Suchita’s.