I was born into a family of weavers near Arani, where I learnt to weave the famous Arani pattu sarees. But I couldn’t continue after marriage, as there was no income or profit from it. To earn some returns, I have to put in at least Rs 20,000 – and that is a lot of money.
We own a piece of land in our village. But we cannot cultivate paddy on it, as that requires an investment of about Rs 15,000. But if we manage to cultivate when there are rains, we will be able to feed ourselves. I got married at the age of 16 to a man from a family of farmers. We have four children – three girls and a boy. After finding little or no work in our village, we decided to migrate to Chennai two years ago.
My husband works as a watchman and I work in three households nearby as a maid. We are able to educate our four children. I have taken a loan to educate my son at an English medium school. My daughters too are in school back in my hometown, under the care of their grandparents. I want to educate them, but I don’t know how. Schooling needs so much money and college too will be expensive. My husband and I work hard to meet their educational requirements.
We are hopeful that someday we will have enough money. One positive side of being a working woman – it has earned respect for me among my in-laws back in our hometown.