Susheela stood mulling near the window. Her in-laws sat viewing the TV. Images flickered but their mind was not on it. Moving far from ‘their ‘world had never been on their agenda. But move the had to, for the sake of their children. Meera did not quite understand Suheela’s need for some room of her own. The same house of their’s had been home to her and to her in-laws too. SO what problem did Susheela have now? And it was not as if she had always lived in a palace.
At that time Praveen her eldest son and Susheela’s husband came in. It was obvious that he had had a bad day. The elders understood but kept their mum but Susheela asked,’What happened?’
‘Does it matter to you,’ he barked,’Go dream about your ‘own’ home.’
Praveen’s old boss had expired. His son who had taken over had new thoughts. He wanted dynamic people. Praveen though hardworking was not that bright and so chances were high that he would be removed from his job. But then what would he do?
Susheela was in a turmoil. She had seen her father in similar circumstances and she had seen his decay. She did not want Praveen to follow suit. She had to change things but how.
Problems when they come, come together but a breeze can bring a big change.
Chogule’s friend Sawant came in one day. Sawant saheb was one who believed that education could make a difference and had seen that his son got a good one. The result was that his son was a textile engineer now, employed in a textile unit in Coimbatore.
‘But you seem to be going somewhere, why all these packed bags?’, he asked.
The family first evaded the question but no one could really escape the persistence of Sawant Saheb. The truth was told in bits and parts but he understood. He understood Susheela too. After all he too had seen her struggle. He, her father and Chogule had all been in the struggle of the 80s. Her father suffered mentally, Chogule did not have the dynamism to fight circumstances, but he himself had survived. Life had been kind to him unlike the other two.
‘Chogule, do you know why I have come?’ Then without waiting for an answer he continued, ‘Ajit (his son) has been scouting for some old school weavers. He has some plans to bring in a new blend. You know now there is a high demand for cottons both in domestic as well as internationally. Will you come in and help him as an adviser.’
‘Me?’, Chogule said, it is a long time since I left all that…. and then you are there already’.
‘Me?’, said Saawant,’ You see my weight and my BP and diabetes and failing eyesight. All these do not allow me to work for long hours, my dear. But you I see are in good health, you can help Ajit, can’t you? For some fees of course.’
‘But…’, said Chogule.
‘Kaka, I am good in book-keeping, can I get a job there?’, it was Susheela whose mind was working overtime.
‘Yes my dear and so can Praveen’, smiled Sawant. That is what he had in his mind.
And so he and Susheela started making plans.
But Meera and her husband were apprehensive. A new city, a new life was it possible?
‘Baba-aayi’, said Susheela,’ it is not that we are building fortunes here. Praveen is having problems and if he continues in his present job he will lose all his confidence. So why not shift to a new place where we are being assured jobs. And cost of living might be less there. We will not sell this place. If we don’t like it there, we can always return here’.
And that’s how the Chogule’s shifted to Coimbatore and Susheela got a home of her own.
dedicated to all the mill workers who suffered in the turmoil of the 80s. Inspired by several lives, this is a fictional story and no, not all the stories had a happy ending. Many went into depression, poverty and of course despair.
image of Coimbatore trade centre courtesy Wikipedia.