This is a story about a girl. A girl who could attend school only for half a year because her parents could not afford the school fee for the entire year. A girl who at the age of 17, started earning, working in the back office of a garment distributor because her parents had no source of income whatsoever. A girl who put her younger sister through school and college. A girl who worked seven years to earn her dowry.
When I first met her at her wedding, her eyes glimmered with hope and joy. Who could have imagined that it was the beginning of a nightmare? However, I couldn’t also have imagined that it was the beginning of a lifetime of friendship. A relation that outlasts all adversities.
The marriage was the kind made in hell, if there is a hell. Dowry demands, physical and emotional violence, torture via isolation from all human contact. When she got pregnant within three months of the marriage, questions were raised regarding her character. Things like “people from the north east are always of questionable character,” were said.
When the children were born (twins – a boy and a girl) and they started becoming victims of the violence ( a fracture, a black eye, a bleeding nose in 8 month old babies), she finally found the courage to leave. Her parents were never supportive, because it would bring shame to the family. Plus, the younger daughter was yet to be married.
With the help of friends, she escaped. Now the question that arose was – who will earn and how? The job situation was never encouraging because she is not even a graduate.
Money was a necessity. The lawyers ask for money. Without money, there is no justice. If it’s free legal aid, the lawyer would tell her, he has to go to the temple, so he can’t prepare the case this week. Why would he even care about the two little children that were waiting to be clothed and fed by a single mother?
Week after week rolled by, and help from relatives was drying up. That’s when we decided to turn our (my friend and I) passion for hand loom into a profession. A good Samaritan gave us a small amount of money to invest for the same. I knew many weavers and I put them in touch with her. She started traveling to these remote villages and towns. It was often unsafe. After all, India is no place for unaccompanied women. However, there was no choice. She went into houses and factories. She found hand loom treasures that are just wasting away to death in our villages. Inaccessible roads, language barriers, terrorism. But can anything stop a determined woman?
This is how Looms and Linen was born, an online hand loom store. It is only one month old but we are mighty proud of it already! My friend is my brother’s wife. We became good friends after she got married into our family. We bonded over our shared love of hand loom. I saw the grave injustice that was happening to her and I had to stand with her in this struggle.
As I write this post today, I share a girl’s story with hope that things might eventually change and get better for her. If you think, you can help this happen, do check out the Looms and Linen page and help this business to grow.