Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dad beat mom, burnt me with ciggies: Pooja's sis


Shubhra, Pantaloons Femina Miss India World Pooja Chopra’s elder sister, remembers their mother sleeping hungry, tying a dupatta around her stomach, after feeding her daughters. Now a mother to a daughter herself, she believes that girls are the best.

Shubhra Mendonca, Pooja Chopra's older sister, is playing with her daughter in her home in Mumbai. Her husband, Agnelo, a merchant naval officer, is away on the ship. "I’m so thrilled; I feel like I myself have achieved something," she chirps.

While Pooja was a baby who remembers nothing of her father's brutality towards her mother, Shubhra, who was seven when her mother walked out, remembers it all too clearly. "He used to hammer my mother... When I used to try to save her, he would burn out his cigarette on my hands." The reason she remembers, Shubhra says, is because she still has the burn scars. "My father was a commander in the Indian Navy. Later, when we left, we heard that he had taken voluntary retirement and joined the Merchant Navy and was a captain there. At that point his salary was no less than a lakh of rupees — and I'm talking 20 years ago. I thought once, when I had come to the Taj in Mumbai for some training, that I glimpsed him somewhere, but I couldn't be sure and I put it out of my head." Shubhra was in charge of Pooja's studies. She proudly says, “Her friends would be scared to come home when I was there because I was very particular about her studies. She was a brilliant child. She broke a 25-year-old record at St Thomas Academy — nobody had ever scored such high marks. In Mount Carmel, she was head girl." Shubhra's childhood was not much fun, "While the other children played, I worked. I would wake up each morning and distribute newspapers.” Now a mother to a girl child herself, she says, “I want to be the kind of mother my mother was to us. I remember her giving us all the food in the house — we never slept hungry — and tying a dupatta around her stomach. She would say 'my stomach is paining', but I knew." Now a stay-at-home mom, with an adoring husband who says he is father to Pooja too, she says, "I want to give my daughter everything I never had in life and more." "Today, because she is in this position, people are coming to know. But otherwise this is the suffering women go through. I can tell you today — girls are the best. Only a girl child can have the courage to stand up and have the determination to make her mother proud."

Source: Femina

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