Being a single mom is not easy.
Being a divorced single mom is even more difficult.
Being a divorced single mom entrepreneur is downright crazy.
Looking after the challenges of a business and making sure the needs of my two daughters are met consumes most of my day and energy.
Walking through the market after the Unlock that made it possible to shop for essentials, I cast a glance on the closed shutters of the shops that once gleamed with bright lights and teemed with shoppers waiting to get their hands on daily needs and casual shopping goods alike. Accompanying me was my 11-year old elder daughter, warily adjusting her newly adopted mask. “It’s scratchy”, she moaned after I reproached her for touching her nose. As we walked past the vegetable thelas, my daughter kept asking me when her schools would open. With the lockdown still partially in place and the virus claiming more and more casualties every day, opening schools seemed to be a distant prospect.
“Mom”, my daughter nudged me.
“What?”, I asked her.
“When will I get to buy my earthen Diwali toys this year?” Will we get to meet Rashmi didi again? “, she enquired.
“We won’t. She won’t be opening her shop this year”, I replied, irritated.
” Then how will she earn, mommy? Can’t we do something to help her?”.
I stopped in my tracks. The empathetic concern of my 11 year old daughter left me musing.
Amidst all the pandemonium of the pandemic and keeping ourselves safe, I had all but forgotten about those who were almost a daily fixture in my pre-Corona yearly routine. Rashmi was a single mother like me, who lost her husband in a truck driving accident. She always kept a stall of Holi Colors, Rakhees and, for diwali, beautifully made earthen diyas and Thalis that I couldn’t get enough of.
With even influential business owners complaining of heavy losses, I couldn’t even imagine the kind of stress that a tiny artisan like Rashmi would be going through. “What about her daughter?”, I almost wondered aloud. She always seemed cheerful and radiant as she played along while Rashmi tended to her customers.
Waking up to the new reality, I absorbed with great concern the drastic fallout of the Virus.
Schools were closed, farmers and labourers were left without much income and small businesses were badly hit.
The virus swallowed victims who weren’t even infected.
People like Rashmi who depended on daily income were almost certain to have lost their assets.
With a sigh and a sad smile, I wondered how the festival of Diwali would look like in the homes of Rashmi and many others.
That’s when it hit me.
With all that I had learnt in my journey towards self-sufficiency, I was well equipped with tools to help the genuinely needy.
We reached home and I glanced at my inventory of experience, skills and ideas.
The idea was clear to me as daylight.
To help the Rashmis of the world sell their products and earn hard earned money that would go a long way to support their families.
Let Diwali become a festival of true light and prosperity in times when darkness is at it’s peak and every speck of light is deemed treasurable.
May Goddess Laxmi bless our initiative. Thank you for reading. Help us make this Diwali, Sab Ki Diwali.