October is supposed to be domestic violence awareness month.

I do not really believe in having months or days for awareness about any social defects. Usually, politically correct noises are made at the time, with not much sustained or personal effort afterwards. But still, awareness months are a step in the right direction.

I have read several blog-posts on this issue, and am myself taking the lazy way out, by re-publishing a post that I wrote around this time last year.

The ladies that I have written about in this post, had thought of a somewhat unusual way to combat domestic violence in the case of one of their friends. I do not mean to imply that this is the right solution in every case.

Each case is different- I do not believe that ‘standardized’ answers to social problems work.-

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.

It was afternoon, 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.
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.

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.

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.

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- usually on the day he received his weekly wages- at the local Darucha adda ( bar) on drink. Then he would come home drunk and beat 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.

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 completely successful and that he stopped drinking.

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