By Rani Gautam, 38, Delhi
My father worked in the Air Force, and I was the oldest of four children who kept my homemaker mother very busy. Though I was born in Bareilly, I completed my schooling from the Air Force school in Delhi.
Soon after, I joined a beautician’s course and began working at a parlour, going door-to-door for home services.
I was just 17 when I fell in love with a boy from UP who had a good job. We soon married and had a son a year later. But my husband was diabetic, and within two years of our wedding, he had a paralytic stroke. For two months, he was admitted to AIIMS, and then he died.
My in-laws threw me out. My stoic mother forced me to do more beautician courses and to move on with my life. She married me off again, and looked after my son while I went back to working in salons.
I had more kids – a daughter in 2000 and another son in 2005. The same year, I opened my own little salon, Pink Scissors in Munirka, leaving my kids in a crèche while I worked.
My second husband was good to me; he always helped with housework and childcare. In recent years, however, he began having bitter property-related quarrels with his mother and family.
This led him to drink, and his liver got damaged. One day in 2016, he drank while he had jaundice. He passed away within days.
His family did not come to his funeral, nor did they give me his share of the property. I took solace in my old mother’s arms, but a few months ago, in November 2017, she passed away too. Now I have no shoulder to lean on.
I don’t pay attention to all the whispers about being twice widowed. All I want to do is work. My parlour and my children are all I see, feel, breathe and dream of now. My future is wrapped around their destinies like vine on a wall.
I offer chocolate wax at the rate of the regular one, and still do door-to-door services for some of my old clients. Maybe you have seen me, that woman on a purple Scooty in jeans and button-down top, her back straight, and a large carry-on bag between her legs.
Do let me know if you need any services.
First published in the March 2018 issue of eShe magazine. Read it for free here.
Editor’s note (30 July 2020):
Dear readers, ever since the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, Rani has faced great financial difficulty as her door-to-door business has come to a complete halt, and she is unable to pay her little salon’s rent. If possible, please help Rani through these tough times. Her bank details are as follows:
Account Name: Rani
Bank: Vijaya Bank, RK Puram, Delhi
Savings Account Number: 601101011002446
Personal phone number: +91 9999958005