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Sewing Machine: A Tale of Livelihood by Mousumee Baruah


Image Credit: Alf Caruana

Often I hear heart-rendering stories of a village and it's humble dwellers. Where my maternal grandparents once lived. Living life peacefully in serene countryside. Amidst nature, big house, trees, ponds, kitchen gardens. The joy of an extended family. And my grandmother's love for her sewing machine. Her afternoon pastime at a portico of  passion How she created magic with her design and cut patterns galore. She stitched polka dots frock with lace to grace for her kith and kin. One day hell breaks out to that virgin village An external incursion, eventually evacuation that was painful. Humble villagers had to leave their paradise. My grandparents left the village too and treaded to a city unknown. Large families scattered , disintegrated. Leaving behind memories, all material possession except the sewing machine. Grandmother picks it up and rushed to the train in wee hours of dawn. With that machine, they started living life a new, as my grandfather loses his job and land. She becomes a designer, stitching clothes for many. Brought bread, butter, a livelihood, the machine gave a new lease of life. Now that machine graces my living room as an antique treasured possession. Though there is rust now still it didn't lose its flamboyance. A lot of emotions, attached, witnessed a history of a bygone era. That sewing machine tells a tale of the saddest part of the separation. Tells a tale of lost jobs, houses, and grandeur. Tells a painful tale of moving out from own roots to new  terrain. That machine witnessed life struggle. Struggling to survive in a city with a meager income. Tells a tale how simple passion can become a profession and yield dividends. It is a legacy now, am proud to inherit. One day when I will grow old, shall request my children to keep that sewing machine with them. Nurture it with love, give it's rightful due, respect, and dignity. Most importantly,keep it alive, memory preserve of bygone era.



Poet & Writer: Mousumee Baruah

Mousumee Baruah is a post-graduate in English from the University of Pune/ Fergusson College. She had worked as a subject teacher at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jorhat and later as a lecturer at Junior college, Jorhat (Assam).  She had also worked as a sub-editor for about a year at “The Eastern Clarion”- an English daily published from Assam.

Mousumee is keenly interested in writing poems & Short stories in the Assamese language since her school days. She was the editor of the college magazine during her college days. A lot of her short stories have been published in various magazines in Assam.  Presently she is based in Gurgaon as a freelancer. The above poem has won her third place in the #poetryprompt #sewingmachinetales organized by Plethora Blogazine in their Facebook Group Page in the year 2020.

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