Her diurnal clock rings an alarm at 4.30 a.m., following a routine that she’s been going along with for more than 25 years. She catches the early morning bus, reaching the local wholesale market in time to take a load of flowers that she will have to string together for the rest of the day.
We were once living in the same area where she did her business. During those years, she used to come to our house in the evenings to help us with our household chores, an extra source of income for her. But, in all those years, I’d never known a single fact about the other side of her seemingly easy life as a flower seller.
Her husband had left her, supposedly for another woman, when she was young, with an infant to take care of. She single-handedly brought up that child, feeding and educating him, well enough to survive in this vastly opinionated world. He is now married with two kids and works as a farm labourer, with an income, enough to educate his children.
But, she still earns her own living by selling flowers, not intending to put her burden on another person, even though it’s her own son.
She carries herself like she doesn’t even have the smallest hitch in the world, so, you will never see her crying, feeling sad or lonely, losing her composure or pitying herself. She has eyes, that accompany her stretched mouth when she’s happy, which she always is. For the few minutes you spend buying flowers from her, that smile will make sure that you feel the care that she has for you.
When you interact with her, you can never guess that she doesn’t have a house to live in and that she lives under a staircase in house, whose owner felt like giving a helping hand. You can never guess that she doesn’t have proper sanitation facilities where she lives. That she doesn’t have the privacy that should be every woman’s’ right. That she is just getting by in a city filled with a lot of selfish and heartless people.
If we take a minute to think, we realize how strong she is as a person to be handling such a varied spectrum of problems, so very well, that we cannot even fathom that she would be facing such complications. Let’s take inspiration from this resilient woman and at the same time hope that she doesn’t have to face any more turbulences in her life.
Amirtha Varshini , B.Sc Botany, Women’s Christian College ,Chennai