Oil's well for this unstoppable mom

Every day is women's day for dropout-turned-Breadwinner

By Praduman Choubey in Dhanbad
  • Published 8.03.18
GIRL POWER: Jyoti Kumari refuels a motorcycle at Kamdhenu Petrol Pump in Dhansar, Dhanbad, on Wednesday. Picture by Gautam Dey

Dhanbad: As the world celebrates International Women's Day with #PressforProgress as the theme for 2018, a young woman in Chasnala, 15km from Dhanbad, is showing how to walk the talk.

Without even knowing what is women's day and what the hashtag means.

Jyoti Kumari, 23, clocks in eight hours of work at the Indian Oil outlet in Dhansar named Kamdhenu Petrol Pump as a nozzle operator. What's the big deal, one might ask. Jyoti, at 23, is also a widow, a mother of a five-year-old boy and the caregiver of her aged and ill parents despite her having as many as five older brothers.

The Class VIII dropout has tackled every adversity, chin up.

Brought up to marry young and be a homemaker, Jyoti's life turned upside down five years ago when her husband Shankar Prasad, a motorcycle mechanic, died of jaundice a year after marriage.

With in-laws not supportive and her five elder brothers, all wage earners, not in a position to take care of her, Jyoti was left to bring up her son Ashish, born posthumously, in utter penury.

"I am only educated up to Class VIII. I badly wanted to complete my matriculation but couldn't due to poverty. My father, Shiv Prasad, has polio and my mother Prem Devi has worked as a domestic help to bring her six children up. So when I was faced with my husband's untimely demise and was left with no resources, I had to think of a career," said Jyoti.

Only 18 and with a son to take care of, Jyoti who came back to live with her parents after her widowhood, discussed her situation with them. They suggested she meet a lawyer, Md Taj, in the neighbourhood for guidance. " Vakil sahab (Taj) suggested I work in a petrol pump and got me in touch with this outlet. After training, I started working as a nozzle operator. Three years have already passed," she said.

Now, Jyoti earns Rs 4,000 a month in her job, takes care of her parents and son, cooks and cleans at home. Son Ashish is now five and a student of a government school in Chasnala.

Don't her brothers chip in? "They have their own families to run," she said, obviously not willing to blame anyone or prove the adage that a son is a son till he gets a wife and a daughter is a daughter all her life.

Manager of Kamdhenu Petrol Pump Sunil Kumar Sinha said Jyoti was humble but gritty.

Doesn't she have any dreams of her own? "I just want to bring up my son well. He says he wants to join the army. I wish the government sponsors his education at Sainik School," she said wistfully.