She was pregnant with their second child, when her husband -- Pulikkottil Varuthunny Shiju -- went abroad in 2010 to work at the Al Ektisasyoon trading company. The very next year, while putting up posts on the roadside, Shiju fell under a crane and died. He was 36 years old and father to a six month old baby girl — Angel Rose — whom he never got to see.
Now the elder daughter — Ajeena — is a plus two student, while the younger one is studying in Class 5.
Shiji, who lives in her matrimonial home at Nambazhikkad in Thrissur, works six days a week for more than eight hours a day at a private lab for a meagre salary of around Rs 8,500 which along with her 79-year old father-in-law’s pension are the only financial sources for her to ensure her children’s education, secure their future and meet the family’s day-to-day needs.
“As the kids are growing up, this amount is not sufficient for their continued education. Besides, the house is very old and only one room is usable. It needs repairs. There is also no direct path to our home. All this needs money. My family helped in whatever way they could, but it is difficult,” Shiji said over phone.
A few weeks after her husband died, the Indian Embassy in Oman had informed Shiji that realisation of the death compensation was in process and sought her power of attorney to proceed with the case in a court there, Sevi PT, her husband’s cousin, said.
Sevi is the one who is helping the family to raise their issue before state and central government authorities -- including the Prime Minister, External Affairs Minister and Kerala Chief Minister — and the Kerala High Court, Shiji said.