“I was 18 when I had no idea about getting married instead of following my aspirations. My parents, driven by the weight of caste norms, arranged my marriage to a man who was 13 years older than me. He was my relative. Despite my initial hesitation, I agreed to their wishes. My husband, a lorry driver traveling the lengths and breadths of India, took good care of me whenever he was home. However, more often than not, I found myself navigating the journey of life alone.
With two beautiful daughters, I started seeing the darkness in life, being unofficially a single parenthood. Raising my children amidst societal expectations and financial constraints was no easy feat. Yet, with so much conviction, I faced each challenge head-on. My elder daughter is now happily married, armed with a postgraduate degree, while my younger one is diligently pursuing her CA.
In 2010, I ventured into the world of entrepreneurship. Teaming up with a male partner, I co-founded a company. Balancing a business with a partner of the opposite gender is in no way easy, especially when uneducated and inexperienced. But I was hungry to learn and to explore opportunities. I was in business for more than a decade.
However, the second wave of the Corona pandemic brought an unforeseen storm into my life. Financial strains forced me to dip into my savings, triggering conflicts with my husband and ultimately leading to the closure of my business.
As the pillars of my personal and professional life crumbled, my daughters distanced themselves, criticizing my inefficiency in holding and balancing the family and business. Everybody distanced me except my sister, who sometimes encouraged me to keep going every day.
I was left alone!
Alone and facing solitude for over a year, I refused to sit and cry about something that wouldn’t get back to being normal. Instead, I reinvented myself.
Now, I work as the captain of Amman Mess, one of Chennai’s prominent and lively restaurants. Regardless of the obstacles, I face each day with determined conviction.
I’m a very practical person. I’m single, my children don’t talk to me, I lost my family, my business, my past life – yes, I know. I have gone through all these. I know some things cannot be the same anymore.
If you ask me what else to do other than crying, I would suggest moving on with tomorrow. Yesterday was over. Today is your opportunity. Tomorrow is a new day. When the sun rises tomorrow, it’s a whole new day – everything is new. I consider everything to be new every single day. I had enough bad experiences. My own family never understood my point of view; how will others even listen?!
When I miss them, I cry too. But I wipe away my tears, get up, and go about my life with a smile on my face. Meeting new people every day excites me, and I’m happy with what I have now.
I have learned to appreciate the simple joys, finding happiness in the midst of adversity. I love talking to new people, I love seeing new faces every day. I believe in nothing being permanent.
In the face of hardship, I have discovered an indomitable strength within me. Tough situations bring out the strength in you!”