By Sharanya Tiwari:
The day starts early. To travel all the way from Tuglaqabad gaon to Govinpuri is exhausting, but the incentive makes it promising. And so Sonia takes a bus every day to come to school. She is one of the many graduates who go to Katha Lab School. One of the many anomalies here.
Courteously, she apologizes to the teacher for being slightly late and diligently settles down to rummage for her register in her bag. Hurriedly, she opens it to expose immaculate sketches of clothes and elaborate designs. Resolved to make up for her lost minutes of delay, she borrows her friend Shama’s notebook and gets to work. Minutes later when she is done, I ask her about her future plans. “I will open a boutique at home. There are not many boutiques in my area!” she answers with sparkly eyes. A graduate from IGNOU, she is one of the many women who come to the Entrepreneurship Cell of Katha Lab School, to learn fashion designing and earn a living for themselves.
“On their very first day of the one-year training programme, we tell them that our aim is to make them independent. Independent enough to earn a livelihood and to not engage in household chores only. They make a conscious decision,” says Ms Sonia, the trainer, proudly. Handmade scarves, satchels and kurtas upholster the walls. Slightly distracted by a clacking of bangles, I turn around to find a newly-wed woman rigorously taking notes. Besides her is a woman in hijab. It is a marvellous sight to witness, an inter-mixture of cultures and ages.
The writer is a volunteer at Katha.