Humans Of Forest - I
RUBINA - The Girl who owns the Sky
Rubina is a 16 year old young girl. Like many girls living inside the forest, she never went to school. At 4 years of age, she started helping her mother in household chores and also took care of her younger siblings.
Early in the morning Rubina along with other young girls and women of the nearby Van Gujjar hamlets she goes to the forest. This early morning chore involves - collecting leaves for the cattle and firewood - traversing into deeper forests at times. As simple at it sounds I was stunned to see her climb the trees without any support. As she cut down the leaves using the traditional 'Darati'. As she arrives home her mother awaits handing over the young siblings as she starts to cook. Rubina at times is given charge of the cooking if her mother is unwell or there are more number of people at home. She spends her day engaging in washing clothes (for which she has to go to the rain fed water stream a km away), feed the cattle, clean the dung etc.
In the afternoon she picks up her stick and takes all her cattle for grazing. She by herself tends to manage a herd covering a distance of 10-12 kms to and fro as she reaches her home late in the evening. This is the daily routine of all the women who live in and around the forest.
Rubina is different from girls around, as most of the girls of her age are already married. She on the other hand helps her brother and father in the economic activities of the household. The community where mostly the men are seen riding bikes from their hamlets to the nearby highway to sell milk, Rubina is the only girl who goes out everyday to sell milk along with her brother. She loves talking and sharing her stories with other girls. All the girls make jewellery, braid tassels and other decorative items, but Rubina hates doing so. She wants to learn reading, writing and riding bikes. She loves going to the market, and participating in economic exchange.
Rubina is one such girl, who believes in herself. She wants to fly beyond the limits of the sky.
Samanta hopes to support the belief!
(Human of Forest is a series which we have started to share about our Community, People, Lifestyles, Customs and Traditions. Stay tuned to the newsletter to read more!)