A segment of our society still believes that women are weak. But what they forget is when it comes to her family, a woman can turn into a warrior. She will fight against her life circumstances to give her husband and her kids the best shot at life.
And one such example is this woman, who turned into a pillar of strength for her kids and her husband when life took an ugly turn. While sharing her inspiring story with HoB to inspire other women to believe in themselves, she mentioned:
“I got married at 18–soon after, my husband and I moved to Bombay. Our initial days were difficult; he barely made Rs.500 per month. We had 3 children in a shot span; our finances were strained.
I’d only studied until the 12th in a Gujarati medium school; it was my dream to see my kids study in reputed schools. But all of my husband’s income went on rent and food. I started thinking of ways to make money– cooking classes seemed like a good option.
All my life people had praised my cooking; relatives would visit us specially to eat ‘Jyotsna ke haath ka khana’. But people began taunting me, ‘Apart from cooking, there’s nothing you can do!’ Taunts or praises, I just wanted to cook.
When I spoke to my husband about it, he was excited. I got to work– I distributed my visiting cards, experimented in the kitchen and learnt to make Chinese food!
Word spread and I got my first 5 students; my income was Rs. 400. In the 1970s, it was a good amount–I was able to put my kids in a good private school. To make extra money, I taught at kitty parties. I’d walk for hours to save the rickshaw fare.
Still a few people questioned– ‘Why are you doing this, doesn’t your husband have any money?’ My relatives wouldn’t call me to their fancy parties and weddings because of my ‘working class’ status. It didn’t matter– the feeling of earning my own money was unparalleled.
In my 40s, I had to stop conducting class because I developed breathing issues, but I refused to sit idle– I moved on to making flavoured syrups at home.
I did that for 25 years; throughout, I paid for groceries, electricity and the kids’ fees. But in 2016, I fell and injured my shoulder– My business suffered again; I gave up hope of reviving it. Little did I know that I wasn’t even close to being done.
After my husband’s retirement, our son became the sole breadwinner. But after the lockdown, his business hit rock button. Last month, he didn’t make any money. Our dues started piling up; we had just Rs.10,000 in savings. I decided to step up– at 72, I relaunched my syrup business.
My grandchildren started an IG page for me, my husband helped me in the kitchen and my son delivers the products. In the last 2 months, I made Rs.5000 and used it to pay our bills. I’m so excited; I’m working on new flavours!
Honestly, I don’t know how to be an abla naari– I only know that even though I was looked down upon for ‘just cooking’, today it’s literally keeping us afloat. 72 or 18, when a woman sets her mind to something– she can even make the stars work in her favour.”
Despite all her struggles, this brave woman chose to stand tall and become stronger with every hurdle. Her life story is definitely an inspiration to many of us, who are battling our own fights! We can either choose to wallow in self-pity or choose to follow the path of strength and courage as she did!