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In The Supporting Role

Today was the first time I used the salon services of Urban Clap. My beautician was a woman named T Mondol. She was of 32 years, married with a daughter aged 16 and a 5 year old son. This is her story:

I ran away from my home and married the boy I loved when I was in Class 9. At 16, married for a year, I gave birth to my daughter. I knew nothing much about anything. My husband was an only son. I had an elder brother and doting parents who fended for me. I don't know why I ran away but I did and this is a fact. Maybe, I am paying for my that mistake now.

My husband works as a driver and he did not make much money. My father-in-law drives a rickshaw in Sonarpur. He, my father-in-law said, I should learn something. Just in case, his son abandoned me, he added. I asked my husband to give me some money so that I could learn this work in Gariahat. He refused saying that he would earn enough to sustain the three of us. My mother-in-law was also opposed to the idea of me stepping out. 

Somehow my father-in-law was adamant. He took a loan against his rickshaw and gave me the money to enroll in a beautician course. I contacted my parents and convinced them to come live near me. I would leave m daughter in my mother's care and go to the classes. Gradually I learnt and found employment. I managed to free the rickshaw (from under the loan) and that is the proudest I ever felt.

But going to that one institution had kindled a fire in me and I wanted to learn more. I joined another classes run by a famous beautician and worked as an apprentice for sometime but it did not satisfy my yearning. I still wanted more. I discussed this with my family. All of them except my father-in-law were opposed to the idea. His rickshaw again came to my rescue and I joined Habib's (hair) academy. I paid them Rs 60,000. I can cut hair and make many hairstyles. I worked in various salons and parlours for over 10 years.

Today (after joining Urban Clap) I pick and choose the jobs I want to do. I leave the house after my husband goes for work as he still resents my stepping out. My daughter and my father-in-law are my biggest supporters. If I am late to return home in the evening, he even cooks and feeds my children which my mother-in-law refuses to do.

My mother looks after my son after he comes back from school. My daughter helps me in the household chores though I want her to focus only on her studies.


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