© 2021 All rights reserved. Dr Lauren Wilks | The University of Edinburgh
লাল সোনালী কলম
The Red and Gold Pen
An illustrated short story
Mithu is one of a vast number of women commuting to Kolkata for domestic work. She lives with her family outside the city, in a village close to Sonarpur, and she travels daily by local train.
In the city, she juggles multiple part-time jobs, rushing to and between her three employers’ homes. The work (washing dishes, sweeping floors) is tiring, unregulated, and low-paid, but it provides an important source of income, helping Mithu to support her family and pay for her daughters’ education.
As we travel with Mithu, from her own home to her employers’ homes and back again, we are offered glimpses of her daily life, trials and tribulations, and love for her family.
We see how, for Mithu and many others like her, commuting brings additional challenges, complicating and compounding many of the issues facing domestic workers in India.
We also see how, for those doing it, there is often a profound belief in the power of education. It is this belief – and the hope of a better life for their children through education – which sits at the heart of The Red and Gold Pen.