My son is studying Business Management, so there are always a couple of magazines related to Management Studies lying around the house. Yesterday I was looking through one of them when the title of an article caught my eye- “Thinking Out of the Box.” It stressed the importance of creative solutions as opposed to routine ones.

The mention of creative solutions made me remember Tati of Wadala. In connection with some volunteer work I was involved with, I had gone to the Wadala area here in Mumbai to meet a group of women. It was afternoon and the women had finished their chores and were gathered as usual under a large tree in front of the chawls where they lived. Tati was older than the rest of them and I could see that they respected her a lot.

One of them, Saguna, told me that Tati had saved her marriage. This intrigued me and after she left, I asked Tati about it.

It seemed that Saguna’s husband had a drinking habit. He used to spend a large part of his earnings at the local Darucha adda ( bar) on drink. Then he would come home drunk and mistreat her. She had asked Tati’s advice about what she should do.

“Do you want a divorce?” Tati had asked.

“No, when he’s not drunk he’s a good husband.”

“Then we will think of something.” Tati had assured her.

The next time Saguna’s husband came home drunk, Tati and another neighbour went to their house and stayed there without saying a word, till the husband sobered up.

When he came home the next evening two other women were there with Saguna to make sure he did not mistreat her while drunk.

When the same thing happened the third night, the husband got fed up. He came to Tati and told her that if she would tell the women to call off their continuous vigil, then he would promise to stop drinking.

I would like to tell you that their plan was successful and that he stopped drinking completely. Unfortunately, that was not the case. However he did drink less frequently and he was careful not to mistreat his wife and children lest Tati thought of some other annoying plan! So Saguna was satisfied.

I think resourceful women like Tati could teach Management students a thing or two about “thinking out of the box”!