“Mangaiyaraaga pirappadharke nalla maathavam seidhidal vendumamma,” said eminent Tamil poet, Kavimani Desigavinayagam Pillai.
Suja Muralidharan a resident of Anna Nagar East was haunted by his words and yearned to do something for the ladies in the neighbourhood for Women’s Day on 8 March. So, Suja, along with three of her friends – Latha Arun, Kala Kalyan, Rama Ganesh decided to felicitate flower vendors in Anna Nagar and Arumbakkam.
“As a small token of our appreciation, we gave them water bottles and buttermilk to beat the relentless heat and sweets, sarees on this special day,” says Suja.
Among the numerous flower vendors the group met, the most experienced were Sulochana who sells near Chandra Mouleeswar Temple in Annnanagar and Muniammal who has her flower stall near the famous 14 shops in Anna Nagar East.
Suja says, “They have been doing this for nearly 50 years and their stories of how they got into this business, how they raised their children and how they are even supporting their grandkids’ education are just a heartwarming.”
Suja says that Muniammal especially, is very skilled in making jasmine garlands and her flowers are a centerpiece in all of Suja’s family functions. “The vigor and happiness with which they work even after all these years is just astounding and inspiring,” says Suja.
Few other vendors Suja and her friends felicitated are Devi, Savithri, Parimala, Dharani, Vimala and Radha. The friends wound up their Women’s Day trip around the neighbourhood by cutting cake and celebrating with the women staff of Ooty Vegetable Shop. Most of them are graduates and Suja affectionately refers to them as her ‘chella pillaigal’.
Talking about the trip, Suja says, “We had an ultimate satisfaction of meeting women who come happily, work happily and go home happy, which needs to be followed by everyone. The lesson we learnt is that any job needs to be done with sincerety, devotion, satisfaction and contentment.” “Do what you love and Love what you do,” says Suja as a concluding note.