No Rest for the Weary

Dhroom, click, snip, thunk, dhroom.

These are sounds that defy the silence of the night, past midnight.


The dhroom is the Pfaff sewing machine.

The click is a mother picking up the scissors to deftly snip the thread.

The thunk is her placing the scissors on the side of the sewing machine as she continues to guide the edge of the garment under the silver presser foot.

Apart from the light of a small lamp next to the sewing machine, her bedroom, where her children lay asleep, is dark. Her husband is not home, at least not on this night. Her two daughters sleep in one bed while her two young sons sleep in her bed. Her older son sleeps in a small bed in the dining room.

The sounds, despite their lack of a rhythmic pattern, comfort her children; they feel her presence, her protection, and her warmth.

Earlier that day, as she returned home from her job, she saw Mrs. Sultan’s car parked in front of their flat. She was always happy to see Mrs. Sultan, her friend, and for whom she stitches blouses. Despite their long-standing friendship, Mrs. Sultan’s tone was rather sharp. She was not happy that her blouse was not ready. She needed to have it today, and she did not accept the suggestion that she wear a sari of another color. Oh, no. She insisted on wearing the blouse of her choice, and the more the mother remained subdued, the louder Mrs. Sultan demanded that she must have it tonight. The mother assured her that it would be ready in the morning.

A sigh of relief as Mrs. Sultan left. There was food to be cooked, children to be fed, and watched over.

It’s past midnight, and it is quiet in the house. The children remain asleep. She turns on the small lamp and retrieves the partially stitched piece of the blouse out of the wicker basket. It is only Tuesday and tomorrow is another workday.

Dhroom, click, snip, thunk, dhroom.


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