Slice of life: ‘Will own tailoring shop soon’

Every person has a story to share. This weekly column puts the spotlight on the people of Chennai, faces we see but rarely interact with — giving a glimpse into their struggle, hopes and dreams
Slice of life: ‘Will own tailoring shop soon’
A Karthikeyan, Tailor

Chennai

A KARTHIKEYAN, Tailor 
My grandfather was a very good tailor and I grew up watching people appreciating his deftness in the profession. My father passed away when I was just 9 and since my mother was just a domestic help, our earnings were meagre and I could not study beyond Class 5.  As I loved tailoring, my mother took me to my grandfather to train me in the field. I began with stitching hooks and buttons on gent’s shirts and trousers. 
As I was always fascinated with women’s garments, my grandfather advised me to learn to design frocks and tops. I enrolled in a private training centre and was tutored by master Arumugam. As I was only 12 years old, I was not allowed to sit on the sewing machine. When my seniors went out for lunch, I used to seize the opportunity to join the cut-pieces of cloth. Little did I realise that I was being observed by master Arumugam. In a year, I learnt to handle the machine and began designing frocks with leftover cloth pieces. Having observed my talent, Arumugam allowed me stitch churidars . He trained me to cut tops and slowly introduced me to stitching blouses.He then made me train under another master to learn designer blouses. It is there that my life took a turn. I turned every blouse into a novel piece. 
My creativity grew and so did my master’s clientele. Today I am master of my own business. I do not have a shop but I own a machine. I take up bridal and party orders. This profession requires a lot of hard work and I am ready for it. In fact, I go over to homes personally discuss the design with the clients before implementing it. This gives me a lot of satisfaction. Some have even offered a sponsorship to study dress design. But unfortunately, I have not studied up to Class 10 and I am not eligible to join any course. Also, it requires a lot of mathematics and I do not think I am up to the mark. But I want to set up own my shop one day. I’m sure my desire will fructify.   
As told to Lalithasai

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