A saleswoman in the morning, cook by the day, and a comedian by night, that's how Deepika spends her day. This 43-year-old Deepika Mhatre begins her day at 4:00 am to sell jewellery to train passengers and then from 7 am onwards till 4 pm in the evening she goes to five homes to cook food.
This tiring schedule of her is a basic necessity to feed her family of five in Nala Sopara, Mumbai. Amid all the life struggles this woman finds some time out of her pocket to take the stage and make people laugh.
How did a cook become a stand-up comedian?
In conversation with The Better India, Deepika shared how she started the journey of a comedian and said, "this started when Sangeeta madam (the woman whose house Deepika used to work) arranged a talent show for us bai log. No one actually does that, right? But she gave us a platform to showcase our talents, just as a fun activity. That's where I decided to take my jokes to the stage".
Deepika was spotted by Rachel Lopez, a Hindustan Times reporter during her first show and it was Rachel who introduced Deepika to Aditi Mittal, an established Indian comedian. Later, Aditi offered Deepika to move to a professional stage as a stand-up comedian." I had never performed on a big stage before. So Aditi took me to shows where she performed and mentioned me. Gradually, we shot one episode of 'Bad Girl'".
Her jokes are usually based on her life struggles. But, it never feels like a complaining session by some woman. It feels like a group of maids cracking jokes about their work and employers. Every joke that she cracks is a point to be noted for all those who take their domestic helpers as inferiors.
Whenever she's asked for an interview the only thing she demands is a request for help as his husband is suffering from asthma and she herself has high blood sugar. Owing to their health conditions it gets tough for them to work. Only her elder daughter has a job right now among her Children.
A woman like Deepika is a source of inspiration for all of us to work harder and also to feel blessed that God gave us enough to live. Deepika could have simply said no to Aditi and then she wouldn't have to work for 19-20 hours a day. But, it was her strength and spirit to never settle that kept her going.