Lakshmi Sunita spends her day sitting by the dusty Daba Gardens road. She is one among the many vendors who uploads music, games and apps for customers.
“I’ve been at this job for the past five years now. I burnt my face and hands, when I was in tenth grade. A married man, much older to me would harass me constantly. He would follow me to school, back home and wherever I went, making lewd remarks. The school authorities said that they weren’t responsible for what happens outside the school. I told my parents too, but with three daughters and two sons to fend for, they couldn’t do much. My father is a rickshaw-puller, we are a poor family. I tried to tell the man to go away, but he didn’t listen to me. Then I approached his wife, and the way she spoke devastated me. She told me that it was me who had trapped her husband, not the other way round. I was so heartbroken at the allegation that I tried to immolate myself. My mother stopped me in time, and rushed me to the hospital. We lodged a complaint against them, but they were rich people, who simply paid a fine and walked out right before our eyes.
My mother has been my source of strength since then. When I had gone into depression, it was she who told me that it was even more important now that I studied and stood for myself. I finished my board exams the next year and then went on to complete my graduation too. I’m good with computers, having done a basic course in it, and sought employment with this shop here. Customers come either for loading mp3 songs on their phones, games on their tablets or often for apps on their phones. I have readymade music playlists too, which are faster to upload on their mobile devices. Kids often come for games like Candy Crush, or whatever else is popular at that time. It’s a difficult life and my family often worries about what will happen when they’re gone and I’m alone. Getting a job isn’t very easy even though I’m a graduate, as people want to hire girls who look pretty.
While it’s too late to repent on the past, given a chance, I’d like to improve my future. I’d like to set up my own business. I’d also like to help other girls who face troubles similar to mine. Harassment by men shouldn’t be tolerated and stronger punishment needs to be meted against such people. Only then will such crime stop.”
Yo! Vizag salutes this #GirlPower