Help Someone - You'll Change Two Lives

Renaissance Of Kusum

I fondly recall that many years ago, my brother-in-law had taken my wife to a local tailor shop. My wife noticed that the lady who did the sewing did not have legs and was struggling with a small, hand-operated sewing machine.

The main tailor, who happened to be the owner of the shop, had hired her services for a paltry sum. I had a few discussion with her, discreetly, and she told me as per her accord with the owner, she received a small percentage of income based on how many pieces she sewed but she never got any fixed monthly salary apart from this.

Whenever any marriage season comes in this part of India or Hindu festivals like Diwali, the public needs a lot of clothes sewn and the tailors have a hey day.

Anyway, my wife noticed that the girl was proficiently using a hand-sewing machine to complete her assignment. My wife took instant sympathy on her and asked her name. She meekly told her, "My name is Kusum", and that her family was having a hand to mouth existence.

When the main tailor owner was away, my wife would inquire about Kusum and her family. After a few days, when my wife went to collect the sewn clothes, she casually continued her inquisitive queries as to where Kusum was staying and how many were in the family.

Kusum narrated her story and told my wife that her younger brother brings her on a moped to the tailor shop and takes her back in the evening. Soon my wife made a trip to this handicapped girl's house and felt distressed because of the family's plight, especially Kusum's.

Thereafter, on our invitation, Kusum visited our house on the first floor wearing slippers on her hands, as she did not have legs. As we were staying on the top floor, we used to watch her ascending the steps of our staircase with a lot of strain and in the same way, for her to descend the steps too was poignant and agonising. But she had that admirable grit, determination and a broad smile on her face. We used to encourage her to come to our place and extended full hospitality without making her feel like she was a cripple. Whenever she came to our place, we used to chat for hours and it made her feel happy and we always inquired about her well being.

Those days, my wife took an instant liking to this physically challenged girl. To be of further help to her, my wife took her bio data and approached a local philanthropic Trust to get an automatic sewing machine so that Kusum need not strain with her hands while sewing.

The Trust demanded she produce a certificate depicting she had undergone a tailoring course. We had to coax her to undergo that training for three months. Kusum knew good tailoring, but were her sartorial skills proficient enough to make her eligible to get a sewing machine? She did well in the class and received the qualifying certificate.

My wife then thought of helping her in another way. My wife decided to get her a tricycle to use for her journey to the tailoring class where she could, as a teacher, coach other eager students.

Then my wife helped her in the processing of the papers and with lots of persuasion with the authorities, got her an electric-operated sewing machine that did not need the use of legs.

Regularly my wife and myself watched Kusum's increasing self-confidence and she was truly on her way to become an independent tailoress. She soon started making good money sitting at home on her automatic sewing machine.

I think God had great plans for her.

Soon there was a gathering, sponsored by some organization for handicapped people, to find marriage partners. Unfortunately Kusum could not go there because it was a bit far away from the city, but her other handicapped friends who went noticed one partly paraplegic boy in the gathering who did not find his ideal match. Kusum's friend approached him and described Kusum.

The boy, with his mother, came to Kusum's house but after seeing her missing legs, the boy's mother refused to have her as a daughter-in-law and they went back to their native place. The boy remained adamantly unmarried for some years and declared that if his mother wanted to see him married, she should agree to his choice and let him marry Kusum. His mother relented and he again visited Kusum and ensured they tied the nuptial knot. After their marriage, they are now well settled in life and are now blessed with a son, who must be around twelve years old by now.

Myself and my wife Ann felt like Good Samaritans and very delighted to do something for one less fortunate person.

We believe Kusum is a trendsetter, cynosure and trailblazer for millions of handicapped people. With the help of the right philanthropists and Samaritans, the lives of such people can see the light of day.

Copyright 2010 P. Balakrishnan
I am a retired government servant. I am now 64 years old. I worked in Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Bhavnagar 364 002, Gujarat, India. I joined this institution in 1966 and retired from here as a Personal Assistant. I did my studies in Malayalam which is the regional language of Kerala state, which is a constituent of India. My wife was working as a teacher and she is a housewife. I am fond of helping the needy people and my wife too shares the same feelings. We empathise and sympathise with the downtrodden. I passionately read your and I narrate these stories to others to motivate them. I am fond of internet search and I am trying to enrich my English language further.

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