By Volunteer Barsha Bharati, FHI Bhubaneswar
“What is the cost of this dreamcatcher?”
“Give me two for 100 Rs each.”
That woman was giving a two hundred rupees note to my sister. Sudha dii was denying and asked for 100 Rs more. She gave 250Rs and took two dream catchers. The lady was happy because they were beautiful. Yes, my didi’s hands had magic. She made all the beautiful crafts which we sold at the big fairs. For that, we had to go to Bhubaneswar, where the rich people resided, they bought our products during fairs like Adivasi Mela and Toshali Mela.
Sumona’s eyes were full of tears, waiting to come down. Kitty held her hands tightly. She continued.
That day was the last I had seen my sister. After the fair got over, we were packing to go back to our village. Deba Mausa (someone from her mother’s village) came and talked to my mother. He took Sudha dii with him. When I asked about it, my mother told me, “Sudha will live in Bhubaneswar forever. Because she makes very good crafts and also helps with my household responsibilities. She passed her intermediate exam too. So she will live with a rich family. She will send us extra money too.” I was excited. I also wanted to be like Sudha dii. I started making crafts, helping my mother and started studying for exams. But everything went haywire around the beginning of this year. Due to corona, we were not able to sell crafts at fairs. I was out of my school. Although the government tried to fix things there was more and more need. Suddenly, one day, my mother fell ill. Ulcer killed my mother’s remaining confidence to see me grow up with schooling and now we’d be fighting poverty every day.
She asked for help. Deba Mausa came to our home, gave money to my mother for her treatment which was sent by Sudha Dii. Although I admired Sudha Dii, I did not want to end up this way. Me living in a big house which will never feel mine. It will never feel mine, because I won’t be working for myself but for others. I am grateful that they are giving a surplus amount of money and compassion. But I missed my school, making crafts, my mother and being at home.
Tears rolled down from Sumona’s eye. Kitty hugged and assured her.
You fixed my dream catcher and made it a beautiful one. I am going to hang this at the window. Looking through it, I can see, We are going to make more together. I will arrange everything but you have to come upstairs for some long time after completing your household work. I will discuss with my landlady. Trust me, before this pandemic gets over, I will help you to make your craft shop. You will have your own business, Sumona!!
Kitty was excited about this new venture. Sumona was not. Sumona looked at Kitty and told all her insecurities. She was less able, inefficient to handle the shop. She didn’t complete her schooling like her sister either. How could she maintain a shop? A business, dealing with profit and loss, while she was a maid of Kitty’s landlady!!
An entry directly from Kitty’s Diary, which she fondly named Kit Kat.
5th December 2020
Hey Kit Kat
Do you remember? What happened on 5th March 2020? Anyway, let me remind you.
When I was dreaming about making a craft shop for Sumona, I tried to encourage her but she was not confident. It’s only because she had seen poverty closer than me. She dropped out of almost everything in her childhood which we were never bothered to appreciate during ours. It paused her growth. Poverty is not a physical state it is more of a mental state which is subconsciously engraved into mind when someone has to confront it everyday from young days like Sumona did. That’s why she was afraid to fall back into the same cycle of poverty. Although now she is managing herself and her mother with so much maturity. Only by developing a proper approach, sets of life skills and constant mentoring support throughout the initial phase of new normal after coming out of this depression, She did it. Thanks to the landlady, who is a constant supporter of our startup, Today we got our first big contracts from Amazon. Through making dream catchers and selling those, I am glad to assist Sumona, catching her dreams confidently. I hope she will outgrow her inhibitions.