Shital Aunty- An inspiration

They say success comes from people who have had so many achievements on them, I beg to differ! Any person, who has made a difference in their life, on their own is without a doubt successful; anyone who can be an inspiration, is successful; any woman for that matter who sets a strong example for her daughter, is SUCCESSFUL!

We women definitely visit the parlour once a month for our grooming, I find myself lazy with that too, and that is how many years ago my entire family came across Shital aunty. I never have known her full name, it is like I have grown up in front of her and since then she has become a part of the family. So much that if I fail to get myself groomed, she calls me and reminds me that it is time for her visit or it will be painful the more I delay. Extremely patient, and very humorous and lively Shital aunty, is one now I really look up to. For years she has been coming to our house, for my mother, sister who she dressed for her wedding, as she does house to house parlour service, and today, with God’s grace she has a good clientele. I adore her work and patience with me so much, that I could not think about getting married with anyone else touching my face!

Never did I know, that beyond all those smiles, beyond all that hearty laughter, beyond all that innocence, was a head strong woman who dealt with the worse in life, and saw all the bad sides of our society.  Not that our society is bad, but let’s face it, we do still have a group of orthodox families ruining the lives of many. Such was also aunty’s case, but she did not let the ruin affect her life.

Born in a typical Patel family, she was refused education by her grandfather after grade 10. But Shital aunty knew, the value it held, and fought for her rights, and with great amount of troubles, pushed herself until she could complete her graduation. She was easily given admission for her masters, but then, the family had reached its limit, and she was left to do household chores, until one more family would take her away to do the same!

She faced a lot of rejections, and with always the vigour of doing something on her own, she joined the government training for sewing and embroidery; if only this young talent were given a chance, then ages ago, she would have landed herself with a government job, backed with a handsome salary. In her second year of training she stood second all over Gujarat, and her retiring teacher suggested her as a replacement as she was confident she would manage it along with her third year. With the fear that she would become an earning woman, and that no family would then accept her for marriage, her brother got her married to the next guy they found with whatever best they could do.

It is funny how families considered (sometimes still do) the earning of a woman a bane! After all, middle class families would be at a higher benefit with one more earning member; but no! She was married, and like it used to be in those days, she immediately conceived. The sad part was that, the family she was married to was no good. The mother-in-law was a typical one, who would buy only 100 grams of vegetable per day, and four members of the family had to make do with it, for lunch AND dinner BOTH! Not little did she care that she was pregnant. Thank God for the one woman, who I assume is now in the pleasures of heaven, who made sure that aunty got at least one packet of milk, secretly at her house. Somehow she spent seven months there; as soon as her little girl was born, her husband met with a tragic accident which got him bed ridden for eleven months. With the grandmother that hardly cared for the little one, Shital aunty took care of both, her husband as well as her little daughter. For eleven months this went on, when her husband finally regained consciousness, only to be poisoned by his mother, that his wife had done nothing for him in the past few months and that his child was unlucky as it landed him on the hospital bed for so long!


She was thrown out at 12.00 am ; soon they were divorced! She made up her mind to learn the art of grooming from another neighbour, and soon started working with her for almost two and a half years, at a salary of Rs. 200 only. All she wanted to do was learn! But that makes the society unhappy too; how can a lady be left unmarried ? Another storm of forced meetings led to her second marriage to a man who already had two children. In just a few months of their marriage, he asked her to drop her own daughter back at her mother’s house stating, he will never accept her daughter but forced her to accept his. For a year and a half, she lived like that, tormented with the separation of living away from her toddler.

One day, she had had it! She ran away from the city, without telling anyone, and decided to never go back. This immediately led to another divorce and she was back to her parents house, but on her own terms and condition. One being that she would continue her work as a beautician, and that she will never get married again. The parents, guilty by then for their mistakes, accepted the same and took her in along with her child.


It took Shital aunty almost two and a half years after that to set her foot, not just that, it also led to years of the tears that rolled down her eyes every night when her equally tormented daughter asked her if she would ever leave her alone again! Such is the plight of some woman in our country even today. But she never gave up.


Her business now, at age 43, with her low cost of living is thriving with her list of clients who will call no one other than Shital aunty. Her dedication and commitment is loved by all, and her humility is an inspiration even after everything she has been through. She has made herself a strong independent woman, always zooming off on her two wheeler, with her bag of materials, making so many calls per day! It is because of that determination that she had since her childhood to be on her own, that today she is paying for her daughter’s expensive college fees, coaching fees as well as coaching for the entrances of one of the most expensive studies in India, Law! I am sure, this grown up girl now is no far away from fighting for her mother at beck and call!

In my point of view, this is what I call success. Hat’s off to you Shital aunty! I am not sure if I were you, I could show half as much zeal! To respect her privacy, I would not want to share her real pictures.


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