A day in the life of Rita Singh

Tailor and embroidery artisan from Shramik Mahila Mandal

Rita lives in Mumbai with her husband, Vinod, who runs a tailoring shop.  They have 10-year old twins, a girl (Sania) and a boy (Sahil). Rita was married when she was just 12 years old.  She continued to live with her parents until she was 18, but she had to leave school. She and her husband moved to Mumbai from Uttar Pradesh 10 years ago.  

Rita 9

Her day currently starts around 6:00 a.m. with cleaning and breakfast-making.  Next year her children will be starting school earlier, at 7:00, so she will have to get used to waking up at 5:00.  Her husband will be able then to drop the children at school, so in that way, her schedule will free up a bit.

Rita 10

Before 10:00 in the morning, she also prepares and cooks food for lunch.  Then she heads out to the workshop, which is conveniently located next to her home, where she will stay until around 5:00. She is primarily a tailor, although she is very talented in embroidery and maintains an interest in the embroidery workshops.  

After school has let out, she has arranged for a neighbor to keep an eye on the twins – though because she is nearby she can also nip home to check on them.

After 5:00, she heads for the market to shop for groceries. She is a vegetarian and her favorite treat is panipuri, a crisp street snack.  On the other hand, her husband and kid enjoy non-veg food, especially tandoori chicken. Rita has a reputation as an excellent cook; her gulab jamuns (Indian “donut holes” in sweet syrup) are very popular. When she gets back home with the groceries, she makes sure that her children are taking care of their school work.  They go to a tutoring session before they settle in to study at home. The family eats late, as is typical in India, and get to bed around 11:30.

Rita 11

Every year they enjoy putting on a party for the twins’ birthday.  Around twenty of the children’s friends are entertained with food and games.  When Rita first came to Mumbai, she maintained the custom of covering her entire face with her sari.  After 10 years in the city, she is now comfortable in jeans and T-shirts. Her husband encourages her to dress as she likes.  When her in-laws come to town, however, she feels it is respectful to return to the sari covering her face. But jeans are much easier to wear when she tries out her husband’s Scooter!

Rita 6

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