Lakshmi - The Real Life Story of An Indian Women Expatriate in Saudi Arabia
Indians in Saudi Arabia are the largest community of expatriates in Saudi Arabia. India and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to manage and organize the recruitment of domestic workers in January 2014. The estimated population of Indians in Saudi Arabia in 1975 is 34,500 and by 2018, it is 4,100,000.
Lakshmi is one of those 4,100,000 people who worked in Saudi Arabia.
(Original Story : Eenadu local newspaper)
Lakshmi and her family used to run a small fruits business in their hometown - Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh, India. The fruits business ran dull and there was never sufficient amount to run the household. On the suggestion of her neighbours, she decided to travel to Saudi Arabia. She had many doubts before going but her dreams of building a house and that she could provide a grand marriage for her children gave her the strength. With the help of an 'agent', she got the passport and visa. With hopes fuelling her, she boarded the flight to Saudi.
The Taste of Bitterness
Lakshmi reached Dammam(A city in Saudi Arabia) and got work as a house servant. The salary promised to her was 1000 Riyal. Every thing seemed to be working great until she actually started working. After first month, she was given her salary but later in the month, it was taken back. She was finally given a salary after 3 long months.
Lakshmi's owner's wife used to torture her everyday. She used to beat her even. Once, as Lakshmi is continously asking for her salary, she hit her on her eye and the eye was blurred out. As Lakshmi was not allowed to sleep inside the house, she used to sleep outside even if it was hot or even if it was raining. So, Lakshmi used to sleep inside the bathroom some days. The food she was given was also too bad. She was given wasted and spoiled rice to eat. So she used to sleep with her stomach empty. Many times, she wanted to consume sleeping tablets and die but her dreams gave her hope to live amidst those bad times.
Once, Lakshmi's son wrote her a letter explaining about her husband's illness and his death. Lakshmi's owner did not even inform Lakshmi about the letter. She got to know about it when she overheard the owner and the agent talking about it. She did not have access to phone and she had no other way of contacting her family. And, she did not want to lose the salary. So, she resisted the sadness of her husband's death within herself.
An year passed by and she had no luck of looking at a salary. When she questioned her owner, he sold her to his mother-in-law for Rs. 1,50,000.
Hope lost and Hope Gained
With the help of some of the other family members of her owner, she filed a police complaint in the local police station. When the police enquired her owner on the matter, he accepted his fault and promised to give back her salary. He took her back and made her work for another year without salary. She approached the police again. They gave her a blanket and she slept on a bench in the police station that night. Her owner and the agent never lifted the calls of the police. After many days, the agent was caught and through him, the owner was also caught by the police.
The Court Case
Her story was told to an official who is a women. The official supported Lakshmi and took good care of her. With the help of her, Lakshmi's case was produced in the court. With the help of Saudi police and Indian embassy, she won the case and the court handed her a cheque of Rs. 1.06 lakhs. She still needs to get Rs. 1.08 lakh.
The ReturnLakshmi finally returned India to her home this year.
This is the story of Lakshmi, who is one of such Indians working in Saudi Arabia. She faced every possible hurdle in the foriegn country, had beatings from those under whom she worked, but she kept going on. She lost her husband even. Before he died, he spoke with Lakshmi through phone only once. He asked her to return back if she was not able to live there. She said no. When she approached the police, she many times got the opportunity to return back home. But she stayed there because before boarding that flight to Saudi Arabia 2 and a half years ago, she decided to return back to her home only with money. Now eventhough she could not buy a house or marry her kids with that money, she paid off the debts they had.