Salem: Fire sparks fly, hammers thud and welding machines vroom. It is just another welding workshop on the Yercaud road in Gorimedu in Salem city. But peek in, you will find another gender revolution unfolding and another male bastion being shattered in the tiny shackle.
Braving the intense heat, sparks and highdecibel noise in the workshop, a young lady, G. Mariammal is busy welding a trowel and a shovel in the workshop. She is perhaps the only woman slogging in a welding workshop in Salem.
Foundry, lathe and welding workshops are usually all-male citadels where men alone toil on the heavy-duty machines. “I make trowels, hammer, crowbars, number plates for two wheelers,” 28-year-old Mariammal gushes.
Strings of jasmine adorn her plaits of well-oiled hair. But those are just a few traces of feminine tenderness in her. Behind the traditional exterior, she has an iron resolve just like the crowbars and trowels she makes.
Daughter of a farmer Govindaraj, Marimmal dropped out of school in her Class III as she had to take care of her sister’s children.
While she played a nanny for her niece, she managed to take a peek into her sister’s husband’s welding workshop. During her leisure, she would not fritter away time in gossips. Instead, she would keenly observe the working going on at the welding unit. Soon, she realised she had a knack for welding.
“I know all kinds of welding from gas to electrical welding and cutting,” she reveals. The school dropout earns about Rs 15, 000 a month making two- wheeler number plates, hammer, crowbars, trowels and shovels.
“I have been working in the welding unit for the last 20 years. I will never give it up,” she adds.
She is yet to get married. For she is waiting for a man who will encourage her in her welding job....