TODAY -

Mitigating hunger is the only choice of a poor

Rabin Prasad Kalita *



One side of the path was covered with a thick jungle where mostly the poor fishermen were residing and at the other side; there was a big lake. The lake was enriched with not only many endangered fishes but also with verities of aquatic plants and vegetations. It was like paradise on the earth for many colourful local as well as migratory birds fly with ecstasy all over.

The lake was considered to be the lifeline for the villagers to earn their livelihood. A long narrow bumpy road was laid like a braid in between the village and the lagoon was witnessing all of them from the date unknown.

Being the village was adjacent to the city, gradually the wind of urbanization started swaying them. Within a short notice, seeing the expediency of a useful connectivity, that small non traffic worthy road was converted into a beautiful four way lane.

Day by day, the value of the land owned by them went up hilling which fetched a little worth earlier. Mostly the job doers of the city kept hunting for land at an affordable rate to build dwelling houses out there. Those who had enough lands to sell; they sold out to the outsiders and looked for other earning opportunities in addition to fishing.

Before one’s eyes, within a few years, the village side of the highway got mushroomed with beautiful buildings along with connected bylanes as per the necessity of the time. In a split of days, a substantial numbers of inhabitants of that area slowly left fishing as their prime job and entered into some new avenues to earn their bread and butter. By then, it was almost unrecognizable the way the age old village had been face lifted with modern structure.

Those who could foresee their future to grow, they became well to do from hand to mouth. Some of them who sought for better living by simply spending the money received out of selling of their extra land, they remained poor soon the last penny in hand got pooped out. These people had no prospect or plan, nor did they have minimum education to think in other way to invest their effortless money for improving their living standard.

Ganesh was one among them who survived with his wife, two daughters and a son. He could only manage to modify his thatched hut into a small tin roofed house out of the easy money he received as others which stood abreast of a posh area by now. His land was demarcated by a boundary fence made out of bamboo sticks.

A paddle rickshaw was his main source of income to feed his other four members of the family. His wife too started contributing a bit working in a defense officer’s service quarter as a cleaner to mitigate the needs. Sometimes he spent the lion part of his income spending in country liquor and kept himself boozed all the day.

Predicting a wobbly condition of the house, his unemployed son began to sell local liquor dishonestly at home. Some common people like rickshaw puller, handcart puller and daily wage laborers’ were his permanent customers. During the course of his clandestine selling, he had been caught red handed by the local administrators for a number of times.

After a few days of stay in the police custody, he would come out of the cell and starts his business again to alleviate their hunger. The poor have no property to protect them from the collapse of their unstable pecuniary state of affairs. Poverty can affect a family in many different ways such as education, financial stress and health. Sometimes, some of them force to earn unscrupulous way to live their lives.

It was a grave distress for Ganesh and his wife to find matches for both of their grown up daughters to get them married. This stress was eating their mind all the time. The life was too tough to pull on his family with minimum basic needs with his measly income. He was already sunk in a sizeable amount of debts while raising his children.

By the time, seeing the pitiable financial condition of the family, both of his daughters Arati and bharati eloped with a scrap dealer and a cable operator respectively. They were helpless though they didn’t want to be pointed out by neighbours for eloping and bringing shame to their parent.

Both sibling sisters knew that the social marriage was not possible without borrowing from someone, hence both of them decided to run away with their loved ones. They didn’t want to invite an additional burden on their parent putting them in an entangle situation of debt.

Many big and well established people of that area were keeping vulture eyes on poor Ganesh’s lucrative land to own that anyhow. Each one of them was trying to strike one’s axe on that leaning tree. They were in incessant touch with many different rewarding propositions to have a deal with Ganesh successively. A poor has no big aim to click on except to mitigate his starvation.

Grocery dealer Piramal was one amongst them who had already pushed a substantial amount of cash and credit to Ganesh which had become a hefty total for him to repay. Foreseeing the future prospect of that land, Parimal took the opportunity to play his card to bring him into his grip. Before Ganesh could think of any other way to get rid of, he had been trapped miserably into the stretched net of Parimal for a transaction.

Ganesh had left with no option except to agree for a deal with Parimal quietly to get himself released from the liability. As per the agreement, Parimal had to provide him an equivalent dimension of land to Ganesh just outside the city area with a house constructed over there in addition to deduction of the dues. Within a couple of months, the alternate provision of the house was getting ready to move as informed. Accordingly Ganesh had to shift along with his wife and son to their new address begging a bye to his birth place once for all with soaked eyes.

Thus he could weed out himself from a huge debt and started running his life with little ease, because the life has to go on. On the other hand, to expand his business, Parimal erected a big hotel on his newly purchased land. Being the place a productive one that too the location is of a clapping distance away from the busy airport, he professed that this industry would yield him much.

Ganesh comes out of his home pulling his rickshaw to the airport during the rush hour in search of customer as before. Now a day, he earns sufficiently and he doesn’t have to worry for passengers. But still something stuck into his mind which made him unhappy and sick after losing his remaining portion of the ancestral land.

While he was on the way to the airport, he always looked into the plot, which he owned once. Simultaneously, he would exhale a long yawn and speaks at his own, lest the hotel would have been his! He regrets that, this was the most painful deal of his life.

One day while Ganesh was on his way to the airport, suddenly there was a heavy shower just in front of the hotel. Being helpless, hurriedly he turned his rickshaw towards the car shade of the hotel to save him off from the heavy rain. Immediately after reaching the shade, the security man deployed at the gate screamed at him and pulled him out of the gate along with the rickshaw.

Soaking in the rain, deposed Ganesh felt himself disdained and straight way he rode his rickshaw with all anger and grief towards his home instead of the airport. He forgot that the things he possessed till yesterday, today it was not belong to him.

He even forgot that he lost his all privileges to stand on that ground without seeking permission no sooner the onus was transferred to another. By the time he reached his home, the pain that glued in his heart due to the incident he faced, drifted through his cheeks in a form of tears.


* Rabin Prasad Kalita wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a resident of Guwahati and can be reached at rabin1966(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on June 13, 2019.



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