BANGALORE: She's 13 and like any other teenager loves to watch cartoons, play with friends and lead a carefree life. But her innocence is gone. Before she leaves for school every morning at 9, she feeds her three-month-old son. And as soon as she's back from school, she doesn't lounge around; she's with her little one. This is just a beginning of a long battle for this Class VIII student.
In April, life changed terribly for her when she had severe stomach pain. She was rushed to a local hospital where the doctor said she was in labour. The girl delivered a healthy baby boy. The trauma had only just begun for the family. They found out that their daughter was allegedly raped by a neighbour, who is now in jail.
The 13-year-old spent her summer holidays taking care of her son. When she returned to school in June, the new mother faced humiliation. Her friends' parents did not want their girls to share the same bench with her, or even sit in the same classroom. The school, under pressure by the parents' lobby, handed the rape victim her transfer certificate.
Last week, the Karnataka high court ordered the school to readmit the teenager.
Being a mother has changed this child's life. Her son takes up most of her time. "My mother helps me take care of my son. I feed him and when I am not around, my mother gives him bottled milk," said the girl.
"He is my son,'' she says with motherly love, pointing to her three-month old son. Sitting in their two-room house in Ramchandrapura in West Bangalore, the girl's parents have gracefully accepted the new member. "I have a small business of broken tiles. I am raising four children and I don't mind raising the fifth child. I will give him my best till I have the strength," said her father.