Mauritius: The Story of Sheila

Date: October 9, 2019
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My name is Sheila. I am 41 years old. I was two and half years old when my father died. We were 10 brothers and sisters and it was my grandmother who looked after us. My mother was working in the sugar cane field. My dadi (grandmother) looked after us really well.

When I was eight years old then I knew that my mother was in fact my stepmother but we nevertheless lived well. My dadi had a relative in India who wanted to take me but my dadi refused. But when I turned 13 my ‘dadi’ did all the procedures so that I could go to India. In Mauritius I studied up to Form 1 but did not sit for exams. I stayed in India for eight years. I learnt Hindi, Sanskrit et leant to become a Priestess (Pandita). Then I came on holiday to Mauritius. The health of my Dadi was not good. I stayed with her for two years. I decided to go back to India to continue my studies. When I boarded the plane there was a call for Miss Sheila to land. My family did not want to let me know that my Dadi was dying. After the death of my Dadi I did not go back to India. I looked for a job as a Hindi teacher. I worked hard and started to buy food including meat, fish, chicken. I did all the expensive expenses. When the family decided to share my dadi’s possession then problems started. My Dadi gave me a big pair of earnings called “jumka”. I had a bad accident and was knocked by a lorry. I stayed in hospital as my case was bad.

When I came back home my mother told me that I was mad and told this to everybody.  But my elder brother told me not to listen and to keep on working. One day my brother brought his friend home and I fell in love with him. I was 34 years old. But my family was not happy because the man was much older than me and he had lots of children. But I was really in love with him. We eloped. We went to stay in Bamboo but in the same evening my brother came for me at Bamboo Station. My family lied to me and said that my mother became very ill when I left the house. I believed them. But when I reached home I saw my mother looking very well, sitting on a sofa and waiting for me. My two brothers stood by the door and gave me a good beating. When I told them that I was not a child and I was over 18 and had the right to love whoever I wanted and they had no right to beat me they became even more violent and beat me even more. I was 36 then. They told me to go to the station but my hands and my feet were swollen. They told me that I had to right to use the toilet nor the bathroom.

The next day I went to the toilet of my elder brother who did not know that I was beaten on the eve. He asked me to sit down, spoke to me and asked me if I was really in love with the man. He told me not to worry and he would do the necessary. He kept his word and I could live with the man of my life. We have lived together for five years. We lived well together. My elder brother, my husband and his daughter helped me a lot and today we are together. And he told me he would look after me as a father and it is true. Without him I would never have known care and love.

I would love to work as before. I would love to teach Mauritians Hindi