March 2011…I was apprehensive. This was an offer I’d love to hate.

March 2012- It felt like I was in denial. I was beginning to enjoy this job. 

March 2013- I could only think of giving it up every single day. 

And then Aluva happened. I have moved to the banks of Periyar, lived through the worst phase of my career in the last 3 months and now I’m scared of falling into a comfort zone. 

There are many days when I get to play the lady boss and that means, I am the one bound to be yelled at by customers. Meeting a plethora of people, putting up through a multitude of attitudes, keeping calm when all I feel like doing is giving one tight slap..Life has been a bittersweet learning experience yet again. 

Last week, a customer’s father insulted me, used derogatory words, yelled at me when several people were around and stomped off finally. The reason was, I refused his request to withdraw money from his daughter’s account which had not been operated for a while. 

Apparently the daughter is married off somewhere in Northern Kerala and this man by virtue of his paternity considered it to be his right to withdraw money from his daughter’s account. All I could say is, it was not permitted according to the ‘rules’. The man felt offended and thus, let out the verbal vitriol. 

It could have been some money he needed urgently, it could have been for his daily quota in Bevco, maybe his daughter was not able to come at this time… I was left a bit shaken for this was the first time I heard such remarks levelled against me in public. I was trying to convince myself that the man must have lost his temper for any of the above reasons. 

A few hours later, he walked in with this daughter. The daughter was giving me the icy stare totally oblivious to the situation. According to her, the father had every right to withdraw money in her absence. My battle ended there. 

We live among ignorant people and the battle against such mindset is futile. Their built in value system, their beliefs, attitudes..all her father  said was, “Veetil irikkunna pennungale enthina veruthe vilich varuthiye”. ( almost translates to “this girl should remain in the confines of her home. Why did you call her here?”). The girl seconded her father and questioned me too. It was more of a strong conviction than a mere religious/social belief. 

I was at a loss of words. How could I convince her that ‘she should be breaking the walls when she herself believed remaining confined to the four walls is what she is meant to do according the teachings imparted to her through society and religion?”

The situation just scared me. A one off experience here in an educated society in small town Kerala leaves me wondering…”Can we break those mental barriers yet?”


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