Meet Suman, Danpak, Ansika and Angel who are someof my dear Indian friends who showed me such kindness on my travels! I met this family in Rishikesh on my first visit and have returned to visit them every time. I instantly felt welcome into their home and they tell me that I am now a part of their family! I have spent a lot of time with them on my last visit and Suman has agreed to let me share her story and give you a peek into Indian life as I think it speaks for thousands across India!
Suman and Danpak met 10 years ago, she was just 19 and he 21. They were childhood sweethearts and decided to marry. Although they were both at an age which would be considered normal for marriage in India, this marriage was not arranged by their parents and would be known as a ‘love marriage’. Sumans parents did not accept Danpak because they were from different casts and he did not have a good job! So the only option for this young couple was to run away together. So they reached Shimla where they married in a temple and he got a job working in a factory.
Now 10 years later they live in Rishikesh and have 2 beautiful children Ansika who is 9 and Angel 2. Her parents still do not speak to her and she has not been back to her village since. Suman says that she will never be accepted back into the family. But she doesn’t regret her decision and from spending time with them it’s clear that Suman and Danpak are still madly in love!
However life isn’t easy for them. The family live in a small room about 4 by 3 meters which has a bed, a small gas hob on the floor and a cupboard. everything happens in this room – cooking, eating. sitting, playing and sleeping! The bed is not big enough for all of them so Papa sleeps on the floor. In the winter time they tape sheets on the wall to protect them from damp walls and mold.
Danpak now works in a clothes shop where he earns 5000 rupees per month which is about 70 euro! They pay 2500 rupees rent, Ansikas school fees are about 700 per month which leaves them with about 1800 (28euro) for the month to buy food, gas and anything else they need!
Even though they have little money for food, Suman takes pride in cooking a good meal for her family everyday which would usually be rice and dahl or subgee and chapati. I have had the pleasure f eating her food and you can taste the love! She also makes the best Ginger Tulsi Chai ever!
Suman says that life is very difficult sometimes and she worries about money and that she doesn’t have a home for her family but she is happy because she has 2 beautiful children and a good husband who works hard and helps with cooking and the children. Her dreams are to be a teacher and to make sure her girls get a good education.
It warms my heart when I think of this beautiful family who have very little but give so much! Such true and beautiful souls. Looking at their smiles I am reminded of whats really important in life.
Love Taloola peach xx