Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mumbai life : a different perspective

I've been buying my vegetables regularly from Gorakh for the past year ... Ever since I got to know he's from a village near Varanasi. That's our common ground and reason for bonding. Its from him that I got a new perspective about life in mumbai ...

"Saab, barah saal se mumbai me hoon. Aaya kyonki gaon ke kheti me paisa nahin banta hai. Abhi gharwaali kheti dekhti hai aur mai yahaan se kuch paise bhej deta hoon. Toh guzaara chal jaata hai."

Gorakh sells average of 1500 bucks of vegetables a day with a margin of about 10% ie 150 bucks a day and 4500 a month. He sends as much money as possible to his family back home and visits his family once a year. Is the money worth living away from his family for years ... I probe further ...

Bare subsistence ( if the monsoon is good ) is what his village farm allows which is just not enough to pay back the loans piled on by his family over the years. Thats what keeps him in Mumbai ... an effort to repay loans taken from the local moneylenders at ridiculous rates of interest. Its a vicious circle as the interest on the loans exceed the principal originally borrowed.

Brings to mind the cases of farmer suicides across rural India. Gorakh's biggest fear is that he will be evicted out of Mumbai when the local political parties call for periodic eviction of "North Indians".

Life in Mumbai to Gorakh is a ray of hope ... a reason to live.

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