“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
– William Faulkner
In this interview with RJ Asha, garment worker Puttamma relates her life story and how her work as a domestic worker and in the garment industry paved the way for her self-reliant lifestyle.
Puttamma faced expulsion from her own home for that old odd reason – being a girl child. She could stake no claim to family property as it was considered wasteful to provide any woman such a right; she would be married off soon anyway!
So, Puttamma restarted her life in Bengaluru. “It was difficult to be in the big city. We had no shelter and nobody was ready to give us a place.” She worked as a domestic worker and then as a garment worker. But the money was meager and inadequate to feed her and her younger siblings. Even this money came to her following a lot of humiliation and abuse. Puttamma’s elder sisters would approach her for help sometimes, tired of their abusive marriages. That made Puttamma and her two younger siblings vow to never marry.
The three sisters work very hard every single day to prove social thinking about women wrong and also to remain independent. After all that they have endured and after working through tragically difficult times, it is heart-warming to see them not just providing for themselves but also having constructed a two-storey building for themselves. Puttamma’s story is of determined and dignified living trumping discrimination. Inspired by their own struggles, the sisters have resolved to be empathic and helpful to all those in need.
Puttamma’s story is of determined and dignified living trumping discrimination. Inspired by their own struggles, the sisters have resolved to be empathic and helpful to all those in need.
Tune into ‘Behind The Label’ to know more about Puttamma’s long but successful journey towards independence.
Written by Arpita Rajpurohit.