Kokila, Madgaon, Maharashtra
The slender frame of a woman unloading bundles of yarn from a massive truck is silhouetted against the red-hot evening Sun in Madgaon.
Kokila's fortune has been turned by the charkha. She used to trudge up and down the 14 kilometres between her house and the spinning studio. "At every glance across the vast, lonely fields along the way and the bundles of yarn at the centre, I would think it was my last day at work. I considered calling it quits. But there I was, getting ready to march across the fields to the spinning centre at the crack of dawn the next day. I woke up each morning to follow my dream,” she says.
Kokila's eyes light up with pride as she recalls a community meeting ten years ago where she expressed her determination to work at the spinning centre. She could have survived on the generosity of her loving family. She, on the other hand, chose to live with dignity.
"Listening to Ankur Banerjee's life story made me realise that you can achieve anything in life if you have determination and perseverance," she says.
She beat out 50 other candidates for the position of centre in-charge.
Kokila dropped out of school after eighth grade, but her desire to learn has not faded. She tries to read the morning paper, a wedding invitation, or a random piece of printed paper whenever she has time. She makes an effort to learn English from the English-speaking people with whom she comes into contact.
The long walk to work is cut short when she hops on her husband's scooter. Her ambitions are only increasing.
"I want to be in charge of two centres and learn to ride a scooter," she jokes.