“My family’s financial difficulties meant that I had to drop out of school. I didn't know what to do and gave in to despair but no amount of crying was able to ease the pain and sense of loss I felt. I became withdrawn and kept to myself all the time believing that no one could understand or empathize with me. My mother and brothers were really worried about me.
Finally, my mother took me to the Centre for Tailoring & Stitching. I thought that with each stitch I would be able to heal my wounded soul. But nothing helped. I started looking upon studies as something demonic that had taken away all my happiness. I decided never to touch books again. It was almost as though I resented studies because they were no longer a part of my life.
One of my teachers noticed my behavior and wanted to know what was bothering me but I brushed her off saying that it was nothing. She persisted and asked whether I go to school. I said I used to but left school as I wasn't faring well in studies.
Then one day my mother came to the Centre to pick me up. My teacher wanted to know why I was always aloof and didn’t go to school. My mother honestly admitted that I had to drop out due to economic reasons. Our Center Head, Winnie Crawford was fortunately around that day. She heard the story and asked my mother whether I would be willing to go school if the school fee were taken care of. I couldn't believe my ears, I went numb with joy. My mother too was overwhelmed.
That day my new innings started at Muslim Girls School, Ghat Gate, Jaipur. The newfound happiness erased all my pain and I bubbled with excitement and energy. My hurt which had made me resolve to stay away from studies was soon forgotten. I studied with a feverish passion. After all I had to make up for the three years that I had stayed away from school. I scored 85% marks in class 8th Final Exams which renewed my faith in myself.
I continue to learn stitching and my mentors say that I have a flair for designing too. My training and vocation has empowered me to earn a fixed monthly income which I use to support my family. It gives a sense of independence and self respect.
Now I study in class 9th. The pressure of studies is multiplying so now I devote less time to my stitching classes. I really like to study Science as it opens up a window to a new world. I want to be like Florence Nightingale and look after others. At times when my teachers and aunties praise the stylish suits stitched by me I feel I can become a Fashion Designer too.
Like any other teenager I am currently a bit confused about my choices. I want to do so much and explore great heights. I want to be able enough to help others. Above all I want to be like my Winnie Aunty who is no less than an angel to me. She took me under her wings, comforted and strengthened me when I really needed someone.
‘Often, it's not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don't know how to be.’ I can somehow understand this now.”