The two sisters disguised themselves as boys to work at the barbershop and earn money to take care of their father’s treatment.
Everything seems to come to a standstill when the sole breadwinner of the family can’t afford to continue.
But, these two sisters from rural Uttar Pradesh have done something unique to make ends meet and keep the house running. They disguised themselves as boys to run their father’s barbershop for four years.
Back in 2014, Jyoti (18) and Neha Kumari’s (16) father took ill, and his barbershop, which is located in Banwari Tola, Uttar Pradesh had to be shut down. With no income to support the family or their father’s treatment, the family was on the verge of collapse.
Looking at the situation, the sisters decided to reopen their father’s barbershop to support the family as well as his treatment. Unfortunately, their business started going down as the customers were reluctant to get service from female barbers.
Hence, the sisters came up with a plan. They cut their hair short and wore a stainless-steel bracelet 'kada', which is usually worn by men in the region, and disguised themselves as boys. They also changed their names to Deepak and Raju.
Gradually, the business picked up and they started earning nearly Rs 400 per day, which was spent on their father’s treatment.
In an interview with The Guardian, Jyoti said,
Customers did not behave well with us, and so we decided to change our whole get-up so that none could identify us.
In their village of about 100 houses, only a few knew them. After they changed their looks, no one could identify the sisters. Neha said, “You cannot identify me even today.”
However, after a while, the sisters revealed their true identity to their customers. Neha said, "We have gained enough confidence, and we don’t fear anyone. Most people have come to know that we are girls."
Now, to continue with their studies, the sisters open the shop only in the afternoon. While Jyoti has graduated, Neha is still studying.
Dhruv Narayan, the father of the duo said,
It gives me a lot of pain when I find them at work, but I am very proud of my daughters. They have extricated the family out of the crisis.
Much to their appreciation, a local journalist in the nearby city of Gorakhpur published their story in a local newspaper. The government officers noticed this and honoured the sisters.
Abhishek Pandey, Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, said,
They are the brilliant story of how one can survive battling all odds. The little sisters are an inspiration to the society, and their story must be told to the masses.