There is a long list of sacrifices that a woman makes, but the biggest sacrifice she makes is leaving her parent’s house after marriage. The house where she grew up, the streets where she wandered, the childhood friends with whom she played around, her favorite food joints, her gang of college besties and their hang-up adda, the celebrations during festivals and gossip nights with cousins. One fine day she gets married and has to leave all this behind within a short time.
Home(town) is where the heart is and people call it ‘Maaher’ in Marathi or Tavar Mane in Kannada and whenever you utter these words in front of any woman, her heart certainly strikes a chord.
Many women from Belagavi settled elsewhere and many from other cities settled here after marriage. This exchange of daughters happens everywhere and is a part of the ritual accepted worldwide. However, a group of ladies from Miraj who have settled in Belagavi decided to stay connected to their roots and formed a group by the name Miraj Maaher Mandal.
Miraj Maaher was started in 1990 by Vijaya Dixit and Asha Gothe. With a few members in the early stage, today the group has 70 members and growing.
Ladies from an age group of 20 to 80 years are a part of this group, all hailing from Miraj and presently staying in Belagavi. The group organizes various events throughout the year to stay connected to the memories of their hometown (Maaher) in some way.
The members meet every month for a get-together and discussions. Unsung ladies are felicitated for their achievements, talk programs are arranged about different topics, festivals are celebrated, programs like haldi kumkum are organized, senior members are felicitated and also birthdays of members are celebrated.
The group also organizes an outdoor trip every year somewhere nearby Belagavi. Women entrepreneurs or activists of the city are also called to give guest talks.
All these activities are carried out to stay in touch with each other and to always stay connected to their beloved hometown and the memories associated with it. Meeting friends or even unknowns from your own city is a pleasure in itself.
Not just women, but men too who have left their home for jobs or education know this feeling. Hope Belgaumites who have settled elsewhere get inspired by the same and create similar groups in their respective cities to stay connected to their roots.
Oliver Wendell Holmes had rightly said, “Hometown is something that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
Written by Mandar Kolhapure
As narrated by Sukhad Deshpande, a member of Miraj Maaher Mandal.