“This is me at the end of a typical working day. The time is Eleven and I’m here at the beach searching for the last set of customers to sell my remaining flowers to. Be it the eve of Diwali or any important festival, my routine remains unchanged. In fact, it’s during these seasons that Marina is flooded with people, enabling micro-vendors like myself to possibly thrive for a brief bit.
And while I often get asked why I’m working such late nights even in my sixties, I guess as a single mother with two children to take care of since her twenties, my reality has been more stern than most people’s. It’s unfortunate, but the pressure to prosper has merged into my lifestyle, making it a common practice to hustle as much as possible to make an extra rupee!
You see, born into a family of flower vendors, I saw my fate take a turn for the worse, when my husband of 10 years, walked away from our marriage. I was twenty-eight then, left with nothing but a heart full of remorse and thankfully, a spirit to fight through the tides. So what started there was a long battle between living for my kids and giving up on life. Every second felt painful and the pressure to put food on the table was immense, but I guess with god’s grace I was somehow able to sail through it all.
Now amidst my adversities, if there’s one thing I knew I couldn’t compromise on, it was my children’s education. I realized early on that studying was their only escape from this vicious cycle of poverty and therefore did everything in my power to support them in that direction. Within that framework, I guess, my daughter was better aware of her reality and thus more receptive to the opportunity offered. She’s now married and settled well after completing her graduation. My son, on the other hand, wasn’t able to get through his tenth grade exams and now works as a driver. Nevertheless, I’m still proud of him, for I know I’ve raised a good man, devoid of any vices and always on the lookout for his mother.
At the end of both, my day and possibly my time, I’m in fact thankful for the way life has panned out. And as I take my final ride home, pooling with my fellow flower-vendors in an auto-rickshaw, just the thought of my children being in a better position makes me feel blessed. They truly have, are and will always be my universe and I’ll do anything in my power for their prosperity!”