A passion for fashion

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Indra Dhanai at her sewing machine (Delano Williams photo)

By Shirley Thomas

WITH a passion for fashion, always at the sewing machine putting together some novel creation which she would take pride in personally modelling, it was evident that Indra Samaroo was destined to become a seamstress after leaving school, and so did she.
But more than that, what started out as a mere hobby for her at age 16 or so, has turned out to be her main source of income and indeed a lifetime career, following the death of her husband about 24 years ago.

Having ventured into dressmaking at an early age, she began sewing dresses, skirts and blouses and just about anything in the line of clothing. And even though she does not consider herself a tailor, Indra said that from time to time she would take on the job of altering trousers and jeans, either bought or made for persons, but did not fit well. “And I have always done a good job of it,” she admitted.

In fact, she even played a part in the sewing of her wedding dress, and that certainly generated a sense of pride in her and the determination to master the art and eventually take on bridal jobs.

“Because I was sewing for so long, sewing eventually became a part of me, to the extent that I assisted in sewing my wedding dress and was very happy that I could be a part of it,” Indra proudly told the Sunday Pepperpot. Thereafter, there was no turning back; she mastered the art and finding it lucrative, she readily accepted bridal jobs, eventually specialising in it.

“Before coming to live in Land of Canaan I was living in the countryside and you know how country wedding is a big thing; there was always a lot of excitement. Depending on the design, sometimes it would take days and nights to complete the job and really give the bride a nice fit. But I was always willing to do it, and saw it as part of my job,” she said.
The seamstress added that eventually she became known for making bridal dresses, and the money came in well, since, following the death of her husband she singlehandedly worked to bring up her three sons, giving them good education and also built the house in which she now lives. “In addition to routine dressmaking, I sew children’s uniforms as well, and the thing is that I never grow tired of it,” she said.

“I am accustomed to working hard. When I first get married we didn’t have this house. My husband and I lived in a little house in Canaan with our children,” she recalled. Following his death, with shrewd management, she was able to see her three children successfully through school and built a comfortable home for them all.

“As the children were growing up, I worked even harder and they all did well at school and so they managed to get good jobs. Eventually, I was able to build this two-storey house for myself and the three boys. But when they grew up, they all got married and moved into their own homes.”

Indra now recalls: “One night I woke up around midnight and was thinking about my sewing. The next thing I know is that it was one o’clock and I was back on the machine sewing until morning. So here am I, sewing as you could see and there is never a dull moment for me,” the woman said.