“Married to my lover at 18, life was one joyous ride until his unexpected demise, a few years ago. I’m thirty-seven today, sustaining as a mother to three beautiful, young women, who’ve become the center of my universe. I hustle as much as possible, just to keep them happy, and my days go about either being with them or working for them.
And besides survival, work, I believe, also became my coping mechanism somewhere, helping me to deviate from my regrets and focus on the days forward. Even back when things “seemed” normal were a slew of problems in my marriage, right from my late husband’s alcohol addiction, to difficulties in making our break-even amounts every month, but I guess, in the end, it was my work ethic again that pulled us through those testing phases.
And coming from such an industrious way of life, today whether it’s the scorching sun above my head or floods inundating the coasts, I make it a point to step out every day to set up my stall. My family has been in this business for generations now, and I try to leverage the know-how to establish my stand at the Pattinampakkam wet market. Now, ironically, a typical day starts as early as 1 AM, in the wee hours of the night, fetching all the produce required from the wholesale markets. I prepare them then, and store all the delicate meats carefully in ice so that they remain fresh for the next 10-15 hours.
From then, I try slipping in a quick nap after the morning sale, when the buzz is relatively less. It keeps me rejuvenated for the latter part of the day, especially since crowds are known to flock in, in the evenings. I keep the stall open for as close as 11 PM before shutting down and starting the routine again 2 hours later.
Now this schedule does feel overwhelming at times, but the sense of freedom I get being able to make the money is enough motivation to get me through several more decades. In the years to come, all that I pray for, is for my daughters to realize how hard their mother has worked to raise them, and thereby use the opportunities they get to make it big in their lives!”
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