The Gajra -
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The Gajra

I went to the hospital run by The Banyan today. It was around a two and a half hour journey and a part of it is always tough for me as I always happen to forget the route after the CMBT stop so the best way for me is to call an Ola cab and go to the hospital. So I booked an shared ola and as usual it took a while to come where I was. Anyway I finally reached the hospital and before I could enter their was a lady who was selling Gajra and asked me to buy one. I thought for while but as I was wearing jeans and t-shirt I thought it won't go with my dress and said no, but suddenly my eyes went to her hand and her left hand did not have most of the fingers (might be she was a patient of leprosy I am sorry for using the word but I don't know the correct word they use these days. That is the beauty of Banyan that they take in people with any kind of ailments and treat them with kindness). The movement I saw that I immediately bought a gajra from her. I felt that she is trying so hard to make a dignified living I must help her and after all my whole research is on employability of a person with mental illness and here she is trying to be self employed. Another thing was I felt proud of her as today itself I had seen a small girl (around 6-8 years old) begging with a small child with her (around 2-2.5 years old) that moment I felt so angry for the mother of those kids that how can a woman do that to her children.
Anyway I bought the gajra and wore it for the whole day with my jeans and t-shirt (I know people would have thought that I don't have a fashion sense but believe me I was really proud to wear it as I knew how much it must have meant to the women who made it. I could imagine all the struggle she must have been through to reach where she was) and felt on the top of the world. So here is my story of the gajra which was a miss match with my dress.

Author: Suruchi Bahadur is a post graduate student at Tata Institute of  Social Science, her center is in The BALM (Chennai). A rescue center for homeless women with mental disorders