From sky high to rock bottom to back to normalcy, Kollani is hopeful she will soon be her original self
“I am unable to make that moment skip my head when the doctor made me aware of the bitter reality… At that moment I felt as though either everything falls into place and gets better, or the God should just lift me from this life.”
Something that Kollani Pal distinctly recalls each time someone asks about her pre-Vrindavan days – back when she lived in Birbhum (a district in West Bengal).
Kollani Pal was married at a very tender age, as was common in those days. Life was flowing smoothly. Her husband had a well-earning job. The family also had a farm. Two sources of income made life easier for the couple. They were happy, comfortable with each-other.
As time passed-by, Kollani gave birth to three children – a son and two daughters. Kollani and her husband now felt their family was complete and their entire life started revolving around the three. Day-in, day-out, they worked hard and put in all their efforts to give their children a beautiful life. With a lot of love and care, they raised them, educated them and then when the right time came, married them off with pompous ceremonies.
Kollani felt as though all her responsibilities towards her children were well achieved and now the couple can relax and give all their time to each-other. But life plans never work out the way we picture them. Little did Kollani, or as a matter of fact anyone in the family, know that sorrows were just right around the corner at that moment.
Kollani’s husband started falling ill often. He would stay sick for days. So Kollani sought expert medical help. He was checked-up and then the doctors drew a conclusion from the reports that Kollani was least expecting. She was told that her husband was detected with cancer.
“I am unable to make that moment skip my head when the doctor made me aware of the bitter reality. The doctor said my husband has cancer. I had earlier heard of the deadly disease. And I knew that its consequences are dire. At that moment I felt as though either everything falls into place and gets better, or the God should just lift me from this life,” Kollani recalls.
Kollani did all that she could. She invested all she could – time, patience, money, hope – everything! But she still felt it was not enough as his condition was not improving. And in the end, cancer did what was feared. It took Kollani’s husband away from her and pushed her into the world of whites.
Kollani was broken and left with just two things – the sorrows of widowhood and the feeling of what more could have been done to save her husband. It was a huge blank in her life that nothing and nobody could fill.
“Widowhood is a sorrow that cannot be shared with anyone. Nobody can understand what a widow feels and goes through. All my efforts went into vain. My husband was gone. I was now dependent on my son and his wife.”
Kollani’s time spent with her son and daughter-in-law were no easier. Her equation with her daughter-in-law was not good. And her staying with them on a permanent basis now was something that prickled the daughter-in-law every now and then.
“My son is very nice and loves me a lot. But his wife’s dislike towards me was also clearly visible. Our relation was never very flowery but my permanent stay grew thorns on it, too. My wounds and grief were already too much for me to handle, then this unrest state of mind was something I was not ready to accept.”
And so, Kollani decided to leave. She had heard a lot about Vrindavan and how the place gives peace to even the most unstable states of mind.
It was 13 years ago from now when Kollani came to Vrindavan, leaving everything behind. In her initial days, she stayed at the Mirabai Ahram. Here she was engaged into sewing and tailoring, in return for which she was given food and some money. At first she had a few difficulties sustaining herself here but gradually and eventually Vrindavan made her feel at home.
“Radha Rani has showered her blessings on me. Life is smoother and easier once again. I now live in Gurukul Ashram. ‘Lal Baba’ (alias of Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International Social Service Organisation) takes care of us widows living here. We don’t have to worry about anything. Now I sing bhajans and look for the original me. Vrindavan healed my wounds and will hopefully find and bring out the real me,” Kollani smiled.
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