Being a single parent is indeed no easy feat. Sometimes, they would resort to several drastic measures in an effort to ensure the safety of their children. Take this viral story from this single mom from India as an example.
During a recent interview, the 57-year-old woman, named S Petchiammal (or as she refers to herself as Muthu), disclosed that for 36 years, she has disguised as a man in order to “raise her one and only daughter safely in a patriarchal society”.
Speaking to a local press, Petchiammal, who is from Kattunayakanpatti, Tamil Nadu, recalled that she had lost her husband just 15 days after tying the knot at the age of 20. “When I gave birth to Shanmugasundari (her daughter), I decided not to marry again. But raising a child alone turned out to be difficult. I worked in construction sites, hotels and tea shops. I suffered harassment at all these places,” the lady was quoted as saying.
Unable to cope with discrimination from society, not to mention the sexual taunts, Petchiammal went to the Tiruchendur Murugan Temple, switched her saree attire to a buttoned shirt and lungi, and “rechristened” herself as Muthu. She said, “We resettled at Kattunayakkanpatti over 20 years ago. Only my close relatives back home and my daughter are aware that I am a woman.”
Fast forward to the present time, Shanmugasundari is now happily married to the love of her life. Although it’s safe to say that the family’s life has turned for the better today, Petchiammal revealed that she will stick to disguising as Muthu for the rest of her life.
According to her, she’s still not prepared to return to being a woman. Petchiammal said, “This identity (Muthu) ensured a safe life for my daughter. I will remain (as) Muthu until the day I draw my last breath.”