The time frame was the last decade of the last century. The story is very similar to the common character background stories played by legendary Bangla movie actress Shabana. However, the story we will be telling today is not from a movie, is of a fellow human being living right among us. Her name, is Mili Mridha.
Born in a farming family, Mili is the ninth sibling among her 12 brothers and sisters. Her parents sent her to one of her aunt'shouses for a good environment and education.
Mili spent her early life at her aunt's house at New-cross road, Guptapara in Rangpur. She was admitted to the Rangpur Girls High School in 1978 and she returned to Pirojpur after the demise of her aunt.
Mili gave the SSC exams from Pirojpur Girls' High School and got admitted to the Govt. Women's College. However, she couldn't attend her HSC examsbecause of problems in her family.
The young girl became pen-friends in an expatriate named Bimol. In 1994, Bimol returned home and they tied theknot and started their marriedlife. The family didn't approve of their affair because they belonged to different religions. However, at one point, her expatriate husband went back to Qatar and stopped contacting her. Mili had a babydaughter on August 5 on 1995.
Bimol finally came homewhen their baby daughter was two years old. A long time has passed since then. He sent an amount of Tk 10,000 for the last time in September, 2000. Afterwards, heabruptly stopped contacting Mili.
Mili went to find her in-laws' as per the address provided by Bimol. However, she did not find any relatives of Bimol there. Besides, Bimol, her fraud husband had changed his addressabroad as well.
Time stops for no one and nothing. Mili's life started revolving around her daughter. As the daughter is growing up, the expense of family increases. Mili started to loan money from her relatives and near ones.
Her relatives also dismissed all relations with her at one point. A common tradition in the local town like Pirojpur is not to consider any problem of a daughter if she has a love-marriage. Mili's parents also avoided helping her.
The situation was so grave that Mili thought of committing suicide but she resisted the urge by thinking of her daughter.
At that critical time, Mili found a women's rights activist named Salma Rahman, popularly known as 'Happy Apa' to all. The women rights activist Mrs Rahman knew all about Mili and tried to do something for her.
Mrs Rahman noticed an advertisement about a training opportunity for beauticians ofBeauty Parloursin the newspaper. Salma Rahman arranged for Mili to have a four-month training in Dhaka.
After being trained, Mili returned to Pirojpur and began her own business at her home with a savings of Tk 10000. Mili spenther days with her small income and decided to do something for the women who are underprivileged.
At this time she got involved with the Women's Leadership Programme of social organization. She was then trained in leadership under the project. She got introduced with another training programme in 2006 and got inspired. Mili started a special wing of her Parlour business with the Uptan (face-pack made of natural ingredients).
Mili's beauty parlour is situated at MP mor (intersection) near Government Women's College in Pirojpur. She earns around Tk 15-20 thousand per month from her beauty parlour business where two other girls are employed.
Mili believes in her own spirit to do anything possible. All of her dreams move around her lone daughter who is now studying under-graduation in Dhaka.
She also founded a Samity with a development organization with 40 members and invested in it as much as she could.
Salma Rahman, general secretary of the district unit of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, a national platform for women's rights issues, has been working to establishrights of women and helpinh the women who have been suffering for the last twenty years.
"The life story of Mili is really inspiring for all of us. She has proved a woman can curve a niche in the society if she remains determined at all times. All women should learn from her example," Salma Rahman told this correspondent by phone.
She also said,"We all are passing alife designed like ECG Report. There are many curves in the ways of living. The training from the beauty parlour changed Mili's life and she is now solvent and helps relatives and has educated her lone daughter.'
Jannatul Islam Rahad is Staff Correspondent,
The Daily Observer.