Wednesday, 13 August 2014

‘Welding’ Self-respect with Life

Photo:Shankar Narayan
 In a society, where women are made to believe that they are weaker sex and cannot perform challenging physical tasks on par with men, here is a lady, a welder by occupation, who expresses her ‘sparks’ of self confidence on standing on one’s own feet in life

The 42 year old Meenakshi alias Meena, who assists her husband Velmurugan in his welding workshop at Ondipudur, informs:

“I studied only up to class V in my native place Madurai. However, I was very much interested in physical work and spent the hours after school hours by weaving chair seats”

Meena, who did not have the faintest idea on welding earlier, says that she learned it from her husband after she settled with him in Coimbatore.

In contrast to the attitude of some irresponsible men, who have little concern for their family members, Meena says:

“It was my husband, who advised me to learn a trade so that I would not be dependent on anyone to earn a living in his absence”

When asked about her difficulties in mastering works in welding, Meena says:

“Earlier, I felt the work was so difficult.  I experienced painful irritation in my eyes, as particles of iron would enter them. Also, due to the inhaling of poisonous gas, I had to spend restless nights after the work”

However, Meena was soon used to the trade and now she is able to do any challenging work hands down.

“Like any other man welders, I can perfectly do works like making large iron gates for houses and factories, angle iron roof trusses, staircase handrails and so on” avers Meena.

She also recalls that she used to cut around 500 kilograms of iron manually everyday by hitting hard on the metal with a sledge hammer, when her workshop had no appropriate technical device for doing so.

Answering to a question on how she is able to play the roles of both a home maker and a working woman, Meena says:

“I find happiness in performing any work to perfection. I wake up at 6 am everyday, prepare food and get my two children ready for school. And after a whole day’s work in the workshop, I return home by 9 pm, prepare dinner and go to bed. This cycle has repeated for the last 16 years in my life”

Nevertheless, due to exigencies of work, Meena even works over night.

Pointing out that self-respect for a woman is as important as her life, Meena underlines:

“I am happy that I have the confidence to earn a living without anyone’s support. In my old age, I should not be dependent on others, you see” winds up the woman welder.  
Link to my article in The New Indian Express:

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