“I went through hell…. I can’t say I am back yet”

She was 38 years old when she went to her first traditional martial arts class. She was there to enrol her 5 year old daughter and 11 year old son. On a lark she decided to take the course herself.

Today she is a second degree black belt holder, as are her two children. “No my brother is 3rd degree black belt holder,” butts in her now 15 year old daughter! Mother-kids-trio have now help the training institute by training the constabulary, Home Guards and the emergency services in hand-to-hand combat and self defence on a voluntary basis.

Impressed, when I ask whether she is a fighter Dr. Hema’s eyes brim over.  From the world of Academia to the gristly world of litigation, she is a fighter she says, of another kind.

High on Academics

An engineer from the prestigious BMS college, and an MBA from the IGNOU, Hema was always bright and interested in studying and “gathering knowledge”. She married a civil engineer, did a smattering of software courses and started worked at IBM and Mphasis after due breaks for pregnancy.

Woman Power

In the beginning it was a perfect marriage. She decided to add her own name somewhere in her child’s. “I went through several combinations and decided on changing the surname of my child.”

Going against conventions Hema merged her name, with her husband Ramachandra, to come up with Hemachandra. “I wanted unique sounding names, so I chose Achintya and Adithi with this surname- Hemachandra,” laughs Hema.

Alternative Healing

“Everything started during my second pregnancy. I had a physical condition that nobody could identify. I become almost lifeless. It was more than lethargy, more than exhaustion – it was like the life had left my body. Doctors told me that they could either save me or my baby,” recalls Hema mistily.

Bed ridden throughout her complicated pregnancy, Hema was almost at the end of her tether when she discovered alternative healing. Reiki opened her eyes to healing in ways she never thought possible. “Until then I had no idea that such things existed and could benefit someone,” she says.

Ever the intrepid academic, Hema decided to study the topic thoroughly. She took up 5 courses in Alternative healing and ended up doing her doctorate in it! “I did my PH D from The Open International University for Alternate Medicine. My doctorate was in Spiritual Healing.”

Marriage on the rocks

Amid all this, Dr.Hema held a terrible secret. One that she was hiding from her parents and family. Her marriage was on slippery grounds. Her husband, who was working with a reputed firm and held a high position, was having an affair with her own cousin. He had become abusive and violent. She often locked herself and her children in the bedroom for his anger to dissipate. One day she returned from a visit to her preferred deity -the Navadurga temple in Honavara, when she found out that she was locked out! Her husband had changed the locks.

Struggle and litigation

“My kids and I lived at a Trust office for two nights. We had no money, no clothes. In fact my jewellery is still in that house,” recalls Dr.Hema sadly of an incident that happened years ago.

Since then, she has been fighting a battle in courts, asking for what is rightfully hers. Despite being a highly qualified mother, between courts, lawyers, abuse, slander and isolation from extended family, Hema couldn’t help her daughter Adithi in her critical academic year – 10th standard.

Perfect 10 CGPA

Without tuitions (where was the money for it?), her daughter scored a perfect 10 CGPA in her CBSE exams appearing from the prestigious National Public School (NPA) at Rajajinagar.

“I didn’t ask my mother to help me because, she had enough problems. I wanted to help her. So I did the only thing I could – I studied hard. She is my inspiration,” says Adithi with pride.

Adithi says that concentration in her class more than made up for the lack of tuitions and that she wouldn’t want it any other way. “I made sure that I turned in all my assignments on time and did very well on those. Also my teachers were very helpful in ensuring that I understood concepts and asked questions.”

Of course she couldn’t go out with her friends very often, but that, assures Adithi, is a small price to pay.