She finds footing in an alien trade

Shabana Mansoor
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Survival matters:P. Saleena mends soles to make a living.
Survival matters:P. Saleena mends soles to make a living.

She is an achiever, in quite a distinct way. Her feats never make it to news and awards do not adorn her wardrobe. All she possesses is the courage to fight for subsistence.

P. Saleena who resides at Parippupara, near Kallachi, in Kozhikode district commutes to the town every day to pursue her vocation as a cobbler. She has been working for the past 14 years in one corner of the old bus stand area. This is the most unlikely place for a woman from a Muslim family to end up, but, Saleena chose the trade to make a living. She learnt the skill from her husband who abandoned her years ago. Left with three little children to feed, Saleena chose to fight it all alone. She went to the little space once occupied by her husband and tended to torn-off heels and worn-out straps.

Life posed many challenges before her. One came in the form of a heart ailment. She got her eldest daughter married off early for fear of leaving her children orphaned. Her second child discontinued her studies and took care of the house for a small period. After a surgery, Saleena got back to work. She also got her daughter readmitted for studies. She is preparing for her SSLC exam this year, and the youngest daughter is in class VIII.

When life gave her adversities, Saleena rowed hard to make both ends meet. “It is with the help of many kind hearts that I moved along. I hope for continued benevolence from all around, she says. “Life makes you don many garbs, and I have preferred to wear this one and have learnt to make myself feel comfortable too,” she smiles.

A woman, abandoned by her partner, becomes a cobbler for subsistence.

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