Dichotomies

“I can never learn to stitch. It’s not meant for me.”
‘Do you want to try starting with hand stitching? Are you scared of machines?’
“No no. I’m not. Give me time till end of margazhi (a Tamil month) when we’ll start sowing for mallaata (groundnuts) and then I’ll come”
‘But you’ll have to take care of the crop right? How would you be able to come then?’
“Ya. I’ll have to stay vigilant all day and shoo away crows….actually give me five to six months. I’ll come to the tailoring center once we sell all the harvest. I want to buy a sewing machine with that amount”
‘Will you make enough to buy a machine?!’
“Unlikely”
A skill like tailoring will come of use at all times of the year; so try and get your husband to support you for a few hours so you can come to class? Come and complete your course?.’
“Ya ma’am. Please don’t be upset. I’ll come definitely after the mallaata is harvested”

Renuka, a parent of two and many other women..are juggling 2 realities.. the traditional livelihood(which is failing them largely) and tiptoeing into a new skill-based livelihood like stitching… where does the “right” answer lie?!

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