Thursday, April 29, 2010

gender roles

I started the day spinning around the moon, wearing honey rimmed glasses. It was perfect, and funny and real. It was warm and gooey. Then I stepped out into reality.

Friends had just broken up. And the glass pieces were still drawing blood. Leaving the strained breakfast place behind, I went for a little adventure. Pallavi theater, a unknown place in Bangalore to meet a bunch of ladies who had applied for a loan.

We walked into the office of Janalakshmi, to see about 40 women seated on the floor a few with children waiting for the loans to be issued. Our job was to just speak with them and see what it is that they thought about when they took the loans

Kannada illliterate, me tried hard to cut the ice using hand gestures and smiles, till a few hindi speaking women  came and spoke to me. Each of them was a story of strength, courage and conviction.

Saleema, 20 years mother one 1, had the balls to take a Rs 10000 loan and run a saree  business with the guarantee that something would come from it. Riya, a single mother said she would run a tailoring shop and the last one was the cutest with a full business plan of making saree blouses.

Got a chance to see some of the files. What i saw recorded there humbled me to my nail paint. Families after families who had opted for micro finance loans had listed their income status. almost each of these had income levels that did not exceed 17000.

Tailors, painters, auto drivers, health officers, agarbatti makers, saree shop people all worked long days for the sum total of 2000-9000 rs a month. In this sum they managed to buy food, pay rent, entertain themselves, cover medical and have the galls to take a loan! That too when they had minimum of 3 nion income generating
people depending on them..............

Interestingly, the educated blokes were not any richer than the 7/9/12th standard pass outs. The one that had a college degree had a clerical white collar job that got him about 6-9000 Rs while the non educated managed the same about by being a bit more enterprising... Escalator mechanic.. you got to be enterprising for that one to happen.

Made me think. It takes a certain mindset, confidence or to use a hindi term "Jigar" for these women to not feel trapped by their lack of education, limited skills, non business sense and say Fuck it, was the attitude, no desperation, no sense of fear, almost no hesitation just sure fire we shall do this attitude.

That is how you do it.
Just get up and live a little.
Make a dream, make it work,
see it flourish or see it crumble.
Pick the leftovers start again,
making one change that may take u to the end.
the trick though is that u never know
what when where comes the end!