Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Lady in a Green Sari

Across from my undergrad college campus runs a winding grey road. It runs through agricultural land and right into the horizon. Adjacent to this road right across from the hostel were I used to live was a rickety, dilapidated shack under a huge tree, that can barely be called a home. In this shack lived the old lady in a green sari.

Late one afternoon I called upon this lady, not really sure if she would welcome the intrusion. But I had no cause for apprehension, she was not only gracious in welcoming me but also offered to make some tea for me! This is the story of the lady...

She owned a plot of land adjacent to the shack in which she lived and she cultivated some lentils on that land. It was a dry piece of land; there was no irrigation and she told me she depended on the monsoon rains to water her land. Sometimes she watered it herself with water drawn from a nearby well. Because of this water scarcity she could have only one crop a year and that if she was lucky. She made about Rs 4000 (four thousand) per year by selling her lentils.

Her son, she said was a drunkard who lived in another village closeby. He did no productive work and had two wives in separate villages! This lady's seven year old grandson lived with her. She sent him to a nearby school everyday and told me she was determined to educate her grandson and make him an engineer or a doctor! She told me the money she made was barely enough to send her grandson to school and buy food for herself and him.

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