As the pandemic-induced lockdown in March introduced life to a standstill in Kerala, Sreedevi puzzled how she may assist her ailing dad and mom, Gopalan and Usha, to make ends meet as the lockdown had compelled her father to take a break from his work of plucking coconuts. Although her faculty had closed in March, she assumed that the lockdown can be lifted quickly and life would return to regular. But when the scenario didn’t enhance and the lockdown was prolonged, the household needed to assume of methods to reinforce their earnings. A post-graduate in historical past, she thought of methods to earn a dwelling that adhered to norms of social distancing.
“I am the eldest of three sisters and my parents used to remark that if they had son, he would have been able to follow in my father’s footsteps. That is when I thought of plucking coconuts for a living,” recollects Sreedevi.
Speaking on the cellphone, the decided girl remembers that her dad and mom had been utterly in opposition to the thought. Although it was an uphill process, she tried doing it on her personal with a Thlaap, a round loop made of rope or banana fibre that’s worn across the ft by males who climb coconut trees in the standard approach. To clamber up one tree after the opposite, the boys put the thlaap round their ft and use their fingers and ft to raise themselves up swaying trees. “My father refused to teach me and I found it difficult to lift my weight up the tree. It is a skill that I should have learnt as a child. So I gave up that attempt but not the decision,” she says.
Mastering the ability
A search on the web got here up with movies of a machine (which has a harness) that’s used to scale coconut trees. Sreedevi knew she had discovered the answer to her drawback and persuaded her reluctant father to take a position ₹3,000 in a machine. YouTube tutorials got here to her rescue and she learnt to grasp the artwork of scaling up the tall trees with the assistance of the machine.
“It was not that difficult and within a few days I was confident I could do it. But then I had to learn to distinguish between tender and ripe coconuts. It is difficult because even the coconuts on the same bunch might ripen at different times. Tender coconuts are used for its water and meat. That took time to learn and my father showed me how to differentiate the nuts,” she says. She asserts that by no means as soon as was she nervous or scared as she climbed the tree.
The subsequent time her father acquired a name from a resident, Sreedevi went alongside to pluck the coconuts on two trees. “Although they were not happy when they saw me, I was able to pluck the tender coconuts that they wanted. However, they wondered why a postgraduate and an unmarried woman was doing this work …. Many questions and raised eyebrows did not deter me. I got ₹80 for my first job as a coconut plucker. The next day, I went to pluck coconuts from nine trees and I got ₹360. Words cannot describe how happy I was when I was able to give that ₹400 to my parents,” recounts the plucky girl.
While her mates had been thrilled to find out about her new set of abilities, many of the elders in the locality had been apprehensive if this was the fitting profession for a lady. Her mom was besieged with questions on Sreedevi’s selection.
Making dad and mom proud
“My father has breathing problems and it was necessity that motivated me to do this. Since I proved myself capable of doing the job, my parents are proud that I have been able to assist my father in his profession. My two sisters and mother have also learnt to use the machine to scale the coconut palm,” she factors out.
Sreedevi provides that she additionally picked up driving abilities in the course of the lockdown. As her father wanted medical assist for his pulmonary sickness, Sreedevi discovered that it was fairly costly to rent an autorickshaw to go to the closest authorities hospital. The various was to purchase a second-hand autorickshaw and use that. “My father’s friend taught me driving. And now I take my family around in that,” she says with satisfaction.
In the meantime, she has been getting calls from a farming group in Alappuzha who desires her assist to instructor their members methods to use the machine to climb coconut palms.
And what when the outcomes of her B.Ed. exams are out? “Coconut plucking can be done from 5.30 am to 8.30 am. I don’t see why I cannot work as a teacher and a coconut palm climber. It should not be difficult,” she insists.