Circumstances often make us attempt things we wouldn’t ever imagine doing otherwise.
Like the case of Mary George also didn’t think she would be making a living by repairing four to five gas stoves a day.
There are certain skill sets that one only associates with men - changing electric plugs, gas stove cleaning, plumbing and so on.
But Mary George is clearly the exception to the rule.
Ask her about her unusual choice of livelihood and she says, “After my husband’s death, I found myself all alone in search of a job.
Initially, I worked in a hotel as a cashier but the profession did not suit me.
” That is when Mary chose to work in one of her relative’s shops, which repaired gas stoves.
"Initially I was lost, but seeing how things were done I started learning bit by bit.
And in a month’s time I could finish one stove a day.
” Though she has two daughters and a son, Mary believes in being self-reliant.
“I am happy that I could stand on my legs without depending on my children because I don’t want to be a burden on them,” says Mary.
Mary has been working amidst grime filled burners and leaking gas tubes and loose washers since the past seven years.
She says, “There are only a few gas stove repairing centers around, and if you hire a person to repair it, you end up shelling around ` 400 a day.
And the amount we charge for our service is just `100.
” The small gas repairing centre where Mary works is located near Lissie Junction, and is easy to be missed.
However, she has a long list of loyal clients, some of whom come from the outskirts of city.
“Apart from customers from nearby localities, I have customers from Idukki, Kothamangalam, Perumbavoor and Aluva who come here regularly,” says this 59-year-old.
It is surprising that Mary who has completed her Teachers Training Course (TTC) is now a stove repairer working to earn a few bucks.
Ask her why she didn’t opt for teaching instead, and she says, “I married at the age of 19 and my husband and his family didn’t want me to work.
In those times, one rarely went against one’s husband’s word, and only after he died could I venture out.
” The shop also sells spare parts of gas stoves.
“We sell both new and second hand gas stoves here.
Apart from that we sell burners, tube, gas plate, valve, gas knob, washers and gas plate here,” says Mary who over the years has also learnt to repair automatic gas stoves.
But Mary these days has started to worry about the 1 8 - y e a r - o l d s h o p .
“A portion of it will go because of the Metro Rail project and the place where the shop will shift is not in a prime location like this,” says Mary with a whiff of sadness.