The ladies have taken a greater interest and passion about using paints on the cloth. At the beginning it was decided that the coloured linen would be bought for them to do embroideries as most of them have lots of skills in the craft. However they also have got excited to apply the paints on the cloth. Some of them have used embroideries and applied paint along with the thread work. Some of them have directly painted on the cloth. The cloth are put into a round wooden frame. For hours they sit quietly and are engrossed with this activity without diverting their attention in any other personal matters , even if anybody is emotionally down, gets solace in mind. They enjoyed doing this activity of making and painting and everybody does the work so peacefully it seems that they should not stop and remain calm and quiet. In contrast their lives out of these act of painting or playing with threads is horrendous, full of abuse, uncertainty, right from absence of medical aid for their children or hunting for food, troublesome partners.
This has gone for a month and while they are doing this, there was a discussion going on how their skill can help them to earn money. While discussing this they talked about their present proffession that is begging.
Most of the ladies go for begging on Jumma bar, Friday, an auspicous day for the Muslim.
From the conversation, I could know that there few ways of begging. They prefer the chaddar process, that is carrying a cloth in the middle of the weekly market or in front of the Masjid on Friday. These muslim ladies go round singing a song and through that they ask for money. People in the market or near the Masjid put coins, sometimes notes. They
also sometimes lay the cloth on the ground and put on the music of all religious songs or a remix of bollywood and religious songs. They generally prepare beforehand, that what kind of song they will play that particular day. They wear burkha and even if they meet any friend or any familiar faces, they don’t respond as that is a part of their job strategy. They go to far away places from Jama Masjid, old Delhi to South Delhi, extreme East, North and South West as well. One of them says that she does not go to places where there are other people doing chaddar as well because too many chaddar affects each of their business as the clients gets annoyed and ignore them. So she prefers going to places where she is only doing the chaddar and once there is more than couple of them, she leaves that place.
The other way of begging is one to one in front of the Masjid or shops in Old Delhi only. As it is easy to do that if they are in their own familiar places, new place might give them strange problems. The reason they always dressed in old, unclean clothes, with dirty hair, carrying their children in the same manner, to make people think that they are in real need of money. Rabina says that ‘if I wear clean dress nobody is going to give me money’.
Further these ladies also sometimes go to the vegetable market in the late noon, when the vegetable sellers are about close, they collect the left overs from them. It also happens with the local dhabas at Matia Mahal in the Urdu Park vicinity, these ladies get left over food at late night and also the next day.
The intervention with painting and working with colourful threads gave these ladies not only to nurture their skills and desires of making something but also this is an opportunity to express their anguish, excitement, sincerity, love for their job, that is begging, no matter how risky, uncomfortable and humiliating is that.