In 2014 when their father fell ill, 18-year-old Jyoti Kumari and 16-year-old Neha took over their father’s business in Uttar Pradesh. In order to run their father’s shop, they both pretended to be guys for four years.
The shop wad the only source of income for the family. So the girls took the matter into their hands and decided to run it themselves. The customers didn’t behave well with them and were sceptical about getting their moustaches trimmed and hair cut by women. “So we decided to change our whole get-up so that none could identify us,” Jyoti told.
So the girls cut their hair short and adopted names Deepak and Raju. Neha told that the surrounding communities had no idea about it but the 100 houses in their village knew their real identities.
Everyday they earned almost Rs.400, which was enough for them to support the family and pay for their father’s treatment. Neha said, “We faced a lot of troubles when we started the job in 2014. Others in the village mocked us but we ignored them and focused on work since we had no other option.”
That was not it, the girls continued their studying in the morning and would open the shop in the afternoon. Jyoti is now graduated and Neha is still studying.
Neha told, “Now we have gained enough confidence and don’t fear anyone. The majority of people have come to know that we are girls.” Jyoti has started regrowing her hair.
Dhruv Narayan, the girls’ father, said: “This gives me a lot of pain when I find them at work but I am very proud of my daughters. They have extricated the family out of a sudden crisis.”
For their spirit and determination the two girls were honoured by the government. Hats off to these girls who did not leave any stone unturned to support their family.