“She?”, they asked in astonishment.
Yes! I exclaimed in assurance.
Puzzled they retorted, “Is her husband okay with this?” and with that bundle of many more why’s and how’s unraveled into a beautiful story that seeped into an otherwise casual conversation on a Saturday afternoon, under the banyan tree providing cool shade in our village.
The village was small, almost unidentifiable, located on the outskirts of the sunburn city where industrialization has hit a sudden boom in hiring low wage workers. Kavitha was waiting in a long queue with her grocery list at the only departmental store in the village, that’s when she saw a man around the age of 50, wearing different attire, so definitely not from her village was sincerely informing the owner about an urgent vacancy for a female worker at this textile industry near the village, he gave his number to the owner to inform him immediately if he found a vacancy and left hastily after paying his bill for the biscuit packet he bought at the store. Kavitha was eavesdropping the whole conversation and became curious to get in touch with the man. She kept talking to the owner but was hesitant to ask him the contact as a favor, while walking towards her house she felt really upset, her face dropped in unhappiness with herself for not having the courage to ask for a favor in her village, but at last, she consoled herself for not being able to trust the shop owner to keep this favor as a secret.
That night Kavitha as part of her usual routine, cooked for her family, sat with her husband patiently listening to his struggles until he dozed off while talking, she then put him to bed along with her kids in the open verandah of her small home. As she sat there recapitulating all the day-events, her attention was drawn towards her daughter clutching a crushed paper in her hand, smiling at the innocence of safeguarding the paper boats by her daughter which brother makes for her, she stood up to place it safely in their small drawer but, she stopped, something seemed familiar with that paper, the more closely she looked into the more quickly she recognized and had tears in her eyes, she could not tell if it was the power of destiny or the God she prayed thrice a day for her family’s wellness. That paper was her ray of hope, an important addition to her family’s regular income if she got the job, a source that could guarantee 3 times food supply with the hope of fulfilling her kid’s aspirations in the near future. Somehow that day Kavitha could not sleep. Her night was spent in a battle of her thoughts which reflected on barging opinions of her own, her husband’s, and society’s patriarchal comments if she went for a job.
She woke up early the next day and saw her friend Reshma, her neighbor. She gave her a warm smile, as Reshma was talking to her husband (who worked in Dubai as a truck driver for a shipping company). Reshma, in her heavy voice, cut the call and walked towards Kavitha for some comfort talk. They both listened to each other’s plights patiently and confronted each other to accept the lives they have been given and make the most out of it, Kavitha jokingly patted on Reshma’s shoulder and said “these are rare moments, like once in a lifetime opportunity for us to live a life as Reshma and Kavitha let’s not waste on tears, misery instead make the best out of this opportunity’.
That day at home Kavitha was very silent and skeptical as to her own words as strong advice to her friend was ringing in her ears. It felt like it was high time she made her thoughts into action, she prayed thrice to her lord, and slowly opened the small drawer she kept that paper boat in. Mustering immense courage she slowly opened it to type the same numbers on her phone which had limited outgoing balance that her husband warned her to use carefully for emergency purposes.
The call got connected, which made Kavitha even more nervous with each passing dialer ring. To her surprise, the call was quickly answered by the same man, who responded ‘Hello? Who’s this’?
‘Sir, I heard you wanted to fill the vacancy for a lady worker”, Kavitha hesitantly replied. Yes, you heard it right?’ the man affirmed. She enquired if the job was still vacant? The man confirmed indeed it was and asked her to meet him at this address tomorrow morning to brief her regarding her role, responsibilities at work, and the call got cut. From that moment Kavitha kept on reciting the address in her mind so that she does not forget it until tomorrow morning. The next day Kavitha went on to meet the man and she had butterflies in her whole body as she felt awake, active, and extremely anxious. The man directed her to meet Ms. Rani, the manager of the textile industry.
As she walked towards me with a frightful face, I met Kavitha, a very shy, timid middle-aged lady but had the fire in her eyes to achieve great lengths for her family and herself.
It’s that day and today after 4 years of mentoring, Kavitha has been successful in contributing to her family’s growth, her kid’s aspirations equal to that of her husband as she now encourages all her fellow women in her community village to come out and work for themselves and their family’s survival eloquently. When I look at her, I look at her for inspiration for strength, and courage. All three priceless qualities and no class/privilege at birth could instill in you automatically.
It’s a way of living an individual opts to look at the world in a positive, energizing lens amidst the chaos in their life. That’s when each one of us understood that maybe working on the little things as dutifully and as positively as we can is how we stay sane when the world is falling apart
Kavitha and many more like her would always be my strength and inspiration in life.