A Simple Solution

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”!



  1. One of my maid’s husband fought with her parents, including pushing them when stopped from beating her when he was drunk ..maybe these women came before the beatings began, and were in a larger number so he could not push them out…this is not impossible.


  2. IHM- From what the women told me, Saguna’s husband was not a completely bad person. Maybe that what why their solution worked. But how unfortunate that women have to resort tosuch tricks to make their menfolk behave.


  3. What a creative way to handle the situation. Personally, I can’t imagine staying in a situation like that, good man or no. However, I do understand that there are cultural differences, and I think the power of the women getting together and standing up for Tati is amazing. I love stories of strong women. Thank you!


  4. Hi Angie!A woman who has left her husband may find it hard to bring up her children alone. Not only economic but social difficulties are there.As you say, there are cultural differences and what may be easily possible in a Western country is not so easily done here in India.In this case Saguna was not thinking about leaving her husband but trying to reform him.


  5. The movie Mirch Masala and the village women coming together for Smita Patil comes to mind. Of course that is an extreme situation. But I love the quiet and purposeful way Tati succeeded in reforming the maid’s husband at least to the point where she could tolerate him


  6. It reminds me of gandhiji’s principle of non-violence.. Tati managed to convey the message to Saguna,s husband so peacefully. But its true that he might have been a good man , otherwise this couldn’t have worked out..


  7. Hello, shail-mohan-I liked the way the women bravely fought the Subedar in Mirch Masala.A couple of times I have come across news reports of village women collectively fighting to close down local bars, and succeeding.It would seem that we women have to come together to influence any adverse social situation!bk- It would be nice if all such problems could be solved without violence, wouldn’t it?As you say, Saguna’s husband must have some good in him, or else the plan would not have succeeded.


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