Maybe not. But I was dying to get back to working. I have thoroughly enjoyed my sabbatical(from Jan2016 till October 2021). I was getting a lot of calls basis the CV I had floated ages ago. Ok not a lot but 1-2 every quarter. I was also immensely surprised when people still considered me after learning about my break. I also had several telephonic discussions with past employers. Then my son’s formal school began in 2019 – I was pushed into a new schedule and a new state of mind. I wasn’t ready to do the 9-6 grind. While I was starting to get comfortable with the school timings, covid hit us in less than a year of his nursery.
Then forget hiring, people were getting laid off. 2020 was so confusing on so many aspects. To distract myself, I made a public instagram page. From my private account, I followed so many pages which were into décor & gardening and I was an avid consumer. But as a public account, I realised I could be a contributor too. I would put a random corner of my garden or living room and I got so much love and adulation. I connected with so many like-minded people.
I consciously made an effort to not follow Bollywood or news channels or any celebrity for that matter. It became a place for me to connect with the creative minded people. And to my surprise, found so many women – like myself – who took a sabbatical for child care. Here on this creative forum, everyone was known by their names. I loved being known as Parul. Not Shiv’s mother or Mayank’s wife. Not Lalitji’s daughter or Satyaji’s daughter in law – each role of my life I have taken immense pride in. I am just myself here on the gram. I can crack a silly joke and get away with it. I can post a gardening video and move to another space from my life and share a snippet. I am just myself here. It frees me in many ways.
So coming back to why Abel House.. I met a fellow mother Vandana from son’s school and it was an easy breezy bond. Mothers must have other mother friends because nobody understands your struggles better than mothers of the kids of same age. Vandana also had recently taken a sabbatical after having her second child. She had a shorter wait time than me. She didn’t wait 5 years like me to resume work. She and I bonded on clothes, Indian handicrafts, and common love for home décor items made of brass and other metals and many other things. Her understanding of cloth and metal is on another level. And like most of the people in my life, V doesn’t give a damn about having a social media presence and it refreshes me.
We came up with an idea to build something together. It was more for us than anyone else – we wanted to prove to us that we are still fully ‘capable’ of running the complete show. Once you taste the success of completing projects and successful deliveries of assignments, you secretly want to have it again and again. So despite us being very happy as “housewives”, we ventured out to learn if we can do more too. But we had to distinguish ourselves. How will we do that in this overcrowded and very loud “reel/tiktok” loving selling space was a question.
We knew from the very beginning – we will do it like a proper business. Just like how when one starts working-out, you go shop for gym gear and shoes and create a playlist. We did that. We did our paperwork. We registered our business. We found assistance for our website that we built together. We opened a current account. We wanted to put the first step properly. We didn’t take this lightly. We realised if we don’t look like a serious business, nobody will consider it either.
Along the way, we connected with many women like us – and it hit us! Why not create a sort of marketplace of women like us. Let’s create a forum where we connect with women led businesses – let’s say one each month – and work with them. We knew so many from our own friend circle and we started off with a candle brand (itsLitproject) that a friend’s mother started after retiring from corporate job. Since the time we have announced AbelHouse will work with women led businesses – we have been approached by jewellery makers, hair accessories maker, furniture maker, ittar maker and many more! I am still collating the list and I will go to each one by one but I feel this is where I will make a tiny difference. We will give that business the seriousness of a business that they want. I don’t know how much money we will make, how big margins we will get to keep for us but it will give both the businesses a respect that many big players may not immediately give.
I want to stop blabbering and end with this quote from Rupi Kaur’s writings.
how is it so easy for you
to be kind to people he asked
milk and honey dripped
from my lips as i answered
cause people have not
been kind to me
Over and out!