A Day in the Life of Sushila Gupta

MarketPlace, Mumbai: Assistant to the Production Manager

Sushila is a native of Mumbai. She was married at the age of 14 and left school at the same time.  When she was 19 she was sent to live with her husband. Now she lives with her husband, Sunil, and her two sons, 14-year old Aman and 12-year old Roshan. Sushila was an embroidery artisan at Nirman and was promoted to Assistant to the Production Manager.

sushila family 2

On school days, Sushila wakes up at 4:30 in the morning.  Her first task is to fill vessels with water to do the washing-up from the night before.  

After that she starts to prepare breakfast and lunch. At 6 the children eat breakfast before they head off for their English medium school.  Sushila gives each a packed lunch. After they leave Sushila eats her own breakfast before starting in on the morning’s dirty dishes. She also washes clothes (using buckets and elbow grease) and cleans the house.

sushila washing

Work at the MarketPlace office begins at 9. Sushila has about 20 years of experience in the organization. She began at Sahara group, working with the local market for 10 years. After that, she was at Nirmaan for another 9 years.

sushila bhakti 2

Now she is drawing on all her experiences in her position as assistant to the production manager at MarketPlace-Mumbai. She helps with the record books, assists with embroidery training, and takes part in quality control inspections and preparing the merchandise for shipping.  She loves her job because it gives her the opportunity to learn new skills all the time.

For her work she has learned to use a computer to do data entry and email. Another part of her job which she really enjoys is going to visit the different groups to check production progress.  Before she worked she had never traveled by train, and now she is confident to go anywhere, even to the farther cooperatives outside of the city.

sushila bhakti 3

After work Sushila shops for groceries before returning home. When her children get back from their tutoring classes they can enjoy some time together before she has to start dinner.  The family eats at 8, watches some TV and get to sleep around 10.

sushila kids 2

On weekends Sushila takes it a little easy, sleeping in until 5 a.m. instead of 4:30.  Often her brother takes her sons on weekend outings, giving her a chance to relax. She may indulge her love of cooking, making panipuri (hollow crisp balls filled with flavorings and vegetables) and aloo paratha (Flatbread with potato).  

sushila family 3

Special occasions include celebrating the boys’ birthdays. Sushila treats their friends to cake and takes them to the beach. On the holiday Diwali, she makes special sweets and buys firecrackers for the children. She feels good about the challenges and successes of her work, but she has two big dreams.  The first is to make certain that her children receive a good education. The second is to buy her own home so she can stop paying rent.

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