Babli devi (बब्बू -Babbu)
Babli devi (देवी), fondly called बब्बू (Babbu) by all including me, lives in the same village Kharveda, where Bhuri kaki lives. She doesn’t know the meaning of her name. When asked it didn’t make much difference to her. She said she must be thirty, thirty-five years old or maybe forty. Not sure, Babbu said “पहले तो बारह पंद्रह साल में ही शादी हो जाती थी, कोई पूँछता थोड़ी न था …” (earlier child marriage was common, rather it was the norm. No one used to ask the child for consent).
Fond of the colours Red and White, she feels White looks good on her. Roses are her most favourite, though not much available in her village or nearby market. I love all kind of jewellery but the anklets are my favourite. Showing the one she was wearing, Babbu mentioned that this is artificial (imitation- a word popularly used for jewellery other than gold or silver). She has silver anklets as well mostly worn during festivals, weddings or other such occasions. She puts bindi, sindoor, wears sari during festivals and weddings and also when she visits her parent’s place.
She loves eating wheat bread and lentils (गेहू की रोटी और दाल की सब्जी अच्छू लागे). In her free time, she listens to music, however doesn’t understand the Hindi wordings. She recollects a Vaagri song where the bride’s mother abuses the son-in-law in a jovial manner, like a joke. Other than this, a short trip to Partapur especially to the local market is common in the region. Babbu feels, if one has enough money then one can go to different places.
She says it’s okay if we don’t know something but we can always discuss things freely. (this she mentioned when one of the women from the village felt what will they talk about since I am from a city, and educated; they are in the village, most of them have not even been to schools)
She tries doing all her work and doesn’t care much about what she likes or dislikes; bending a little towards me, she says, “अपना काम तो करवू पड़े उसमे क्या शर्म “. Whenever she remembers something, immediately finishes that particular task. Now she is so used to doing her household chores, that even when taking a break or sitting idle, she keeps thinking about the pending work. I realized the whole time she was cleaning the wheat grains while talking to me.
Babbu loves to be within herself. Working in the farms, household chores like cooking, washing etc keeps her occupied all the time. Neither does she speaks rudely, or something offensive to others nor does she enjoys going to other people’s house (for chit chatting, gossiping etc). She mentions that some women speak very rudely and fight with their husbands all the time. Somehow, she doesn’t support that.
When asked about being courageous or fearless she said it requires courage to give birth to babies and raise them, pay back loans, do all kinds of work at home and in the fields- to run the house, to survive. Babbu often feels she has many thoughts which she is not able to express properly. She says, “विचार तो आता हैं, सोचते तो हैं, पर होंसला नहीं मिलता, हिम्मत नहीं रहतीI बोलते तो भी नहीं सुनते I “. She feels her husband can express rather speak better (mainly because he works in a big city like Mumbai). Hesitant and shy, she mentions with a smile, she doesn’t know how to sit with her husband, share some good moments, speak beautifully but yes, over the years has developed a strong friendship with him.