Tag Archives: gifts

An auto-wallah’s woes

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So I went to my colleague and friend Chithra’s niece’s coming-of-age party tonight, wearing my best cotton salwar kameez with my new heeled sandals. I even bothered to put full make-up on, and despite having to walk a good km or so to find the place, it managed not to melt off my face!

After accidentally gate-crashing the wrong party, I finally found the right function room, with a single lady sitting inside. We spent half an hour chatting before the hordes of relatives arrived with the girl in question. Only eleven years old, she was decked up in several long, gold necklaces and jewellery over her ears and hair. The photographer who had been milling about beforehand succeeded in creating a little photoshoot for her, before Chithra finally arrived.

Having already performed the puja on Friday as the eldest aunt, Chithra’s younger sister instead took responsibility for arranging the trays of gifts to give to the girl. There were so many plates, of coconuts, bananas, apples, mithai, clothing, glass bangles, chocolate…I lost count. Once all presented, guests then filed up to give their own presents, and I gave my little cake in its box which I’d agonised over that afternoon.

Food then followed of course, with lots of the same questions from different people, and random guests who wanting to photograph me eating. Ah well, better than the usual idiots following you with their phones as you walk along the street.

Full, happy, tired (due to a crazy weekend sleep pattern), I hailed an auto outside the church hall. Against the odds, the driver was a decent one on the first try, and didn’t even argue about turning on the meter. On the short drive back to Frazer Town, I overhead the words ‘admitted’ and ‘hospital’ when he got a phone call. A few seconds later he began narrating his difficulty to me – his heavily pregnant wife needed admitting into the government hospital, to give birth, but the doctor was asking for a 1000 rupee bribe. Government hospitals are meant to be free. An auto-wallah has no chance of getting such an amount of money.

There was a recent case not two weeks back where a slum-dweller was asked for the same fee to be admitted. Unable to pay, she was turned away, and ended up giving birth on a footpath on her way back home.

He told me how his friend was meant to be lending them the cash, but wasn’t delivering it as planned (I think this is the gist of it). When I asked him why he shouldn’t report this doctor to the police, and not pay the bribe, he simply replied that it would do no good – they are all corrupt. Same old story.

I really felt for him, and wished him my best as I got out of the auto. He was such a sweet guy, and he even complimented me on my salwar kameez! I really hope his wife gets to have a safe delivery – there’s no way out for people in his situation. When the police will turn you away from the station simply because you don’t speak Kannada, what hope is there? It reminds me why SICHREM’s work is so important.

Four Weeks And Counting

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Wow, what a fantastic week! It began last Thursday with my fundraising evening at Design Orchard in Brigg. The lovely ladies there had very kindly agreed to open the shop late on my behalf, allowing my guests access to not only their shop, but free coffee and cake. I would then get 10% of whatever profits they made from the sale of shop goods on the night.

After heavily flyering for the event, and posting numerous ads in the local papers (as well as forcing flyers onto anyone who bought a raffle ticket) I was expecting a decent turn-out. However, the weather turned foul during the afternoon, and when I arrived Brigg was dead. I wasn’t too discouraged, eagerly setting up my beautiful display of hand-made decorations (if I do say so myself) and all the raffle prizes I’d managed to acquire free of charge.

In the end though, only one family from the village, and my mum and her friend, turned up. For this reason I decided to postpone drawing my raffle until I’d gathered a few more people to buy tickets, and where there would be a good crowd to attend.
I therefore went to several of the local pubs asking about quiz nights, and found success with The White Hart in Brigg. Arriving with my trusty collection bucket (pictured in an earlier post) and all my raffle tickets – pre-folded by my nan – I sat in wait for all the people who’d agreed to come.

No one turned up.

After about half an hour of panicked calling to my various friends, I just decided to get on with it. Once I actually got up and started selling raffle tickets, with Andy the landlord’s helpful announcement on my behalf, I did a roaring trade and had some very interesting (if that’s the word) conversations with some men in knitted reindeer jumpers, and a man who practically lived in the pub who bought £20 worth of tickets! After the raffle was drawn, and the winners spent anxious moments deciding between which wine bottle to grab, I spent an entertaining half hour chatting to two older gentlemen about travelling and the state of the world in general, and received some invaluable advice on testing wine quality. A life-long skill I’m sure.

I managed to make a further £75 throughout the evening, bringing my total for the raffle to £173! It was such a fantastic evening, and I want to thank both Design Orchard and The White Hart again for all their support and generosity. Here’s to next week’s fundraising event, at another pub quiz!

Etsy

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Following on from the disappointing sales of the WI craft fair, I’ve finally got around to finishing the creation of my Etsy store. For those of you who don’t know, Etsy is an online community for selling craft and handmade items, rather like a virtual version of traditional craft fairs.

Making a shop on Etsy was something I had been planning to do in the likely event that I wouldn’t sell out all of my stock. So today I’ve been busy photographing all of my items in artistic ways – it’s so difficult to get things just at the right light and angle so they look as gorgeous on the internet as they do in real life. You have to think of ways to make up for the fact that buyers can’t touch them.

After endless trials with the camera and software that didn’t want to work, I got to the last stage of choosing the best ones, and uploading them – all ready to go. To have a look at my fantabulous creations and get your tactile senses tingling, go to Abigail’s Secrets on Etsy.

Dressmaking

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I realise I haven’t updated my blog in a couple of weeks. To explain why, I’ve made a little photo diary of what I’ve been up to…

Basically lots of sewing christmas crafty things for a stall I’m now booked onto for the Humberside WI’s christmas fair. Can’t wait! I’ve been making little favours, or bags to put sweets/jewellery/gifts into, and lots of tree decorations. I got all my fabric scraps out which are no good for anything else as they’re too small, spent hours ironing them all out, and had loads of fun designing my own patterns.

The favours took the longest to make surprisingly, even though they only required hemming and a line sewing for the tie to go through. In contrast, the tree decorations look amazing and are really quick. I’ve probably only spent four or five hours on them so far and all I have left to do is stuff them and stitch up the gaps. That’s for about 50 as well, so on average each will be about 10 minutes to make.

I’m also super-busy trying to organise an evening with the local Amnesty International group in Scunthorpe, and still gathering sponsorship for my bungee jump. I got an article in the local rag last month too – nearly half a page spread! Hopefully people will be interested in what I’m doing and want to help support me.

Enjoy the pics. I’ll post some new ones up from the next thrilling event in the build-up to India!!!