Friday, November 16, 2012

Just when you think your life is difficult, you get something like this to read and it makes you feel grateful.

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The temple you go to to tell the truth Guest post by Shivamma,...

Nov 15, 2012 11:32 am

The temple you go to to tell the truth .

Guest post by Shivamma, community photo workshop participant
My name is Shivamma.  My father’s name is Mahdev Thombady. My mother’s name is Ghouramma.  I have three brothers: Putta, Shivarudhra, and Naga.  I have one big sister.  My family all work as day laborers on farms.  

I went to school through 7th grade. After that, my mother didn’t have enough money to buy me notebooks.  When I got to class, all of the students were supposed to put their notebooks on their desks but I didn’t have one.   My teacher asked me, “Where is your notebook?” then he hit my hand with a stick so hard that it left swelling.  After that, I stopped going to school.  After I stopped going to school, I went with my mother to work.

Two years ago, my mother’s arm swelled up so that it was very big and it was also very painful.  She went to the hospital and they had to amputate her arm.  After that, the pain continued, so we thought that perhaps someone who did not like her had put a curse on her.  So she went to the temple.  She stayed there for 15 days but she didn’t get better. So we took her to the hospital again where she stayed for 3 days.  In the hospital, they gave her 30 bottles worth of glucose injections and two bottles worth of blood transfusions.  But she still did not get better.  At that point, she knew that she was going to die.  She said, “I am dying and I want to go to my house to die there.”  Soon after coming back home, she died. I was 19 years old at that time.  

When my mother was alive, she looked after me.  After she died, it was really hard for me and I was very sad.  If my mother was here, my life would not be like it is now.  When she was alive, my family was all living together.  Now my brothers have moved away and live separately.  Now it is just my father and I living together.  We only have money for food if my father is working.  If he doesn’t have work, we don’t have anything to eat.  There is no one else to take care of me but my father. 

Soon after my mother died, my sister-in-law’s brother, Shivamoorthi, started coming to visit my sister-in-law, who lives near us, and also to visit my father and me.  One day he came and said to me, “Bring 5,000 Rupees and come away with me to get married.”  He wanted to do this without telling his sister.  He told me, “Your mother died and so, from now on, I will take care of you.”  I gave him 1,500 Rupees.  I believed him and so I slept with him. 

From this, I got pregnant but I didn’t know I was pregnant.  I was telling my neighbor that I had stomach pains and was vomiting a lot.  She told me, “You are pregnant.”  I asked her to get me a pill to end the pregnancy.  I took three of these pills but they didn’t work. At this point, I was 6 months into the pregnancy.  Shivamoorthi, the man who got me pregnant, hadn’t come back and everyone was asking me who the father was.   After I told my father, he called members of our village’s local government to come and also called Shivamoorthi.

All of us together went to Mariamman Temple, which is the temple you go to to tell the truth.  With everyone there, I told them that Shivamoorthi was the man who got me pregnant.  Everyone believed me.  One day later, he and I got married at the same temple.  I tied a yellow rope necklace around my neck, which is how we indicate that we are married.  After getting married, he and I came home and, soon after, I got labor pains. 

When this happened, Shivamoorthi told me that he wanted to go check on his goats and so he went back to his village, which is a few kilometers away.  I thought, “Now, when I am going into labor, he is going to look after his goats?”  I felt a big pain in my heart.  My father and my sister took me to the hospital and I gave birth to a baby boy.  Someone went to tell Shivamoorthi but he did not come.  My sister told me not to keep the baby because my husband had left me.  I stayed at the hospital for 15 days after which I gave the baby to the hospital.  It has been 6 months since this happened and I still haven’t seen Shivamoorthi.

Photo explanation: Shivamma participated in the first few community photo workshops and took astonishingly beautiful pictures.  She dictated her story (printed above) to Selvi, the workshop’s co-facilitator.  But she hasn’t been able to participate for several weeks because she has been out working in the field as a day laborer.  She really needs the money.  Therefore, there is only this one photograph, taken by Shanthi (another workshop participant) to accompany Shivamma’s story.

Even a small donation will help pay for cameras for the community photo workshops!  Donate at

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