“It’s not a baby on the floor; it’s my heart on the floor” — a picture may be worth a thousand words, but these heart-rending words of a working mother who was forced to let her ill child rest on the floor of her office has tugged at the hearts of a million people.
Swati Chitalkar, a bank employee in Pune, took to Facebook on August 16 to share how she had to balance taking care of her child and her responsibility towards her employer.
“He was fully fevered not ready to stay with any body. As half day is over I couldn’t take leave in between and a urgent release of loan was there . but I could manage to mind my both the duties (sic),” she wrote.
The target of her message were “ministers who sleep in (the) assembly”.
Social media did not take long to take notice, and the post went viral — as on Sunday, the photo had been shared 20,537 times. Messages and friend requests from India and abroad have begun to flow in, with many calling on the political class to take notice.
What inspired her post? A photo of a police officer in a foreign country taking care of his baby while on duty.
“I thought that I am also working with my baby by my side. So it’s happening all over the world,” she was quoted as saying by India Today.
“Then it struck me, why not post this picture and tell the nation and politicians what the public expects from them. These ministers promise us that they will take care of us just as our parents, so they should perform their duties the same way parents take care of their kids.”
She said she didn’t want the elected leaders to only look after the children of working parents, but of children across the country and irrespective of their social status.
Swati inadvertently struck a nerve with the common man and remains baffled how her “simple post” garnered so much attention. In another post on Friday, she wrote, “...my earlier post which you all shared in number of thousands, was a straight forward message by a common people like me to my Heroes to whom we send in a Assembly”.
Her story continues to inspire everyone who reads it. All that remains to be seen is how her “heroes” — the Prime Minister and other leaders — respond.