Ollur: This is not the saga of a life wrought in misery. But the tale of triumphing over the odds with willpower and sheer hard work. The life of two sisters from Kerala’s Thrissur district, who are waging a battle with life, armed with the hammer and nail.
From owning a mobile phone to riding on a bullet, these young girls have myriads of dreams. At a tender age, Geethu and Nisha realised that the hands of their poor father Unnikrishnan alone cannot help them achieve these dreams. So, they rolled back the sleeves and got to work.
Geethu is a final year MBA student at the Dr John Mathai Centre Aranattukara in Thrissur, while Nisha is preparing for PG admission after completing the course on journalism.
Unnikrishnan and his wife Shylaja of Ambalur work as daily labourers to provide for the family. Their eldest daughter Neethu has been married off.
As they got bitter lessons early on in life, the girls started working from a young age.
Unnikrishnan worked at a wood mill owned by Thaikattussery native Surendran near their house. The job was to make wooden cartons to hold tomatoes and grapes. The two children initially tagged along with him to the unit during holidays. They were only in class VI then.
As they worked, sometimes their aim would go amiss and the hammer would come swinging down on their own hands. Blood stains marked their hands but they learned to swallow the pain and continued to swing the tool. They were aware that their parents did not have enough money to fund their dreams.
Once they reached plus-one, the girls started working during all the free time after classes. Little by little, they started realising some of the dreams, including buying mobile phones. This only drove them to work with renewed energy.
The girls said they even started cutting classes to pursue the work.
The piggy-bank of dreams
Every year, they enter the firm aiming to realise one dream. For this, the sisters have kept a piggy bank in which they deposit their daily earnings. When the piggy bank fills up, they open it to buy their dream object.
This year the dream was to buy a laptop. But due to the August floods, the work was less and that dream remained on paper.
Travel across India
Both of them nurture an unending liking towards a bullet. When asked what was their biggest dream, the reply was: To buy one bullet and travel all over India. And then write a travelogue.
They have already started preparations for it. The duo are members of a heritage bullet group that encourages long journeys.