“I don’t know much. I’m just a housewife. I’m a mother. I haven’t done anything but cook, clean and take care of you and yours.
I have zero talent.”
And went conversation.
The never ending conversation remained the same. Endless, meaningless talks with no one to argue against her.
Her children had settled down. Her husband had taken up a part-time job as a consultant to beat the monotony of watching endless news debates, empty walls and silence.
She went on long walks in the evening. She opened her mouth to talk to her husband of oh-so-many years but she had lost track and touch with what made them special.
Her kids had moved on to busy lives of their own. A call, a message, a whatsapp forward – their endeth the conversation.
Young couples in the apartment they stayed in looked at the couple with envy and a sigh. Ah, companionship. If we get to that stage of life with a beatific smile. We have arrived they thought.
She was that sprightly 50+ lady, vivacious, gracious and zestful.
If only they knew.
The lack of self worth.
She opened a tattered cardboard box and pulled out earrings she had made from shards of glass. They glimmered in the sunlight throwing multi-colored diamonds on the wall.
She pulled out the little trinket she had made for her daughter and smiled. Her daughter had worn it for a week before discarding it for another trinket she had created.
The doorbell rang.
“Hello Aunty, we are having a yard sale. Do you have anything you would want to give us? ” smiled the 18-year old girl and her friend from next door.
She turned around and saw the box with all the earrings, trinkets, bracelets and other accouterments she had made over the years. She invited them inside and sat down looking at the box. Abruptly she gathered the scattered items and stuffed them into the box, silently handing it over to the girl. The earring fell out which the girl picked up in wonder.
“Oh my God Aunty. Did you make this? Could you tell us how? Do you have more of them?”
She smiled and nodded her head.
“No beta, these are very old. I made it for my daughters but it doesn’t hold any value now.”
The girl stared at her friend, thanked her and left.
Another part of her had been cut away.
She began to tidy up and begin preparations for the evening dinner. Not that they ate much now. A simple repast of roti and sabzi with some salad was all that was needed. Yet, she found comfort in the ritual of kneading the dough and rolling out the rotis to put them on the tava and watch each roti fluff. How her daughters would gaze in wonder as they saw the roti fluff over the stove. “How do you do it Maa? You must teach us too.”
The doorbell rang. She was surprised. Her husband never came back this early.
She washed her hands and scampered towards the door wiping her hands on the kitchen towel.
She switched on the lights and peered out of the window. It was the girl next door with someone.
She opened the door and looked inquiringly, “Yes beta?”
“Aunty, this is my friend. He has a boutique and an online store that specialises in handicrafts. I showed him all the trinkets you gave us for the yard sale. He wanted to speak with you.”
“Hello Aunty. I’m delighted to meet you. When I saw the trinkets I knew I had to meet the lady who made it. You wouldn’t believe me but there is a huge demand for products like this, especially among the younger generation.”
She looked on in disbelief before saying, “But beta…..”
“I understand Aunty. You must be busy with all the housework. We can look at small orders at first, and then when you are comfortable you can start sending us more volumes. I would also like you to meet two NGOs we support to teach this craft to the women who come there. If all this sounds too much, we can take it a step at a time. But please, please say yes.”
“I have no talent you know,” she began but the girl and her friend took her hand in their own, and smiled.