“I’m originally from Kutch. My husband was working on a farm and breeding sheep and goats, while I have always been a homemaker. After finishing my work at home, I was always interested in learning embroidery from others around me, but never considered it as a profession because my husband was earning well.
After the 2001 Bhuj earthquake my life changed drastically. My home was completely destroyed and even though my children helped us set up a new home, I had to start working but I didn’t enjoy even a minute of it. First I was working as domestic help from house to house and later on I started helping my husband on the field. It was around this time that I learnt that there was a centre where ladies can sit together and embroider and get paid for their products — I immediately went to this centre and enrolled. From toiling in the field, I was finally able to do what I love at the Welspun centre —and the group of five ladies I enrolled with have become my closest friends.
What happens in a male dominated village when the husband retires is that the wife is expected to take his place and work in the fields, breed cattle and manage the home. I was excited to do something I love and make a decent amount from it. I’ve even attended workshops to learn new kinds of embroidery and the day the centre came to our village to tell us that some of us would be going to Bombay to display our work was one of the happiest days of my life. At first, I was scared if I would even be able to step out of my village…all my life has been spent here. I also wondered if people would make fun of me — Bombay is so modern and fast paced… but my husband encouraged me a lot and told me that I absolutely had to go.
I still can’t believe I’m here; in Bombay by myself displaying my work at Spaces Kala Ghoda stall! I feel confident and empowered. So many people have bought things and women from Bombay have told me that I’ve inspired them — I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. At first I was hesitant to leave my husband, but then I realized that I’m doing this for the both of us. Marriage is give and take. He’s earned for our family for so many years and today when he is unable to work, I want to stand by him and work for both of us.
At 50, I started a new chapter in my life. I wake up in the morning, cook food and then go to my work. This is new me — I love my life, my friends and the fact that everyday I have something to look forward to.”