9:12 pm, Tuesday, 1 October
The weather was great. I pulled a chair out to bask in the sun, when Dadda Ji joined me. We covered a considerable ground that day. From people having titles in the village, to the current political status of the country, the effects of demonetization, and Dadda Ji life as an retired Havildar . As we began our discussion, people came and stuck posters of the candidates standing for the elections on Dadda Ji’s outisde washroom. The Village Panchayat Elections were going to be held in exactly two weeks.
Where Dadda Ji comes from
He vividly recalls an incident where a shepherd in Kapkote, 18 km away from where I was staying in a village known as Lamabagar, had thrown 70 lacks of black money into the river. So to Dadda Ji whether Modi was a success or flop he saw changes no other governement promised they would deliver.
Is the Modi Government a hit or a flop?
Dadda Ji vividly recalls an incident where a shepherd in Kapkote, 18 km away from where we were staying in a village known as Lamabagar, had thrown 70 lacks of black money into the river. So to Dadda Ji whether Modi was a hit or flop he saw changes no other government promised they would deliver. As we continued to enjoy the summer heat, he pointed at the two bathrooms he built due to the Modi Government schemes. For this he recieved 12,000/- .It was hard to say anything at that point of time. He had a fairly good argument. In the middle of literally no where, with no network connection, he was recieved money from the Modi Government to build his washrooms. His house was one of few or only houses in the village that actually even had a tap in it.( Credits to the Jal Yojana.)
His First Salary & Marriage
Dadda ji had married twice. In his first marriage he had lost his wife. Then he married Daddi when she was at the tender age of 13 while he was 23. He asked me what date it was. I said, it was 1st October, he continued, “It was exactly a year ago when daddi was hit in the eye by a stick.She had a 42 minute operation.”
After that I learnt that his first salary was 109.52 paisa out of which he ensured 4.50 paise went into a provident fund. As we sat, we looked around and fell into silence. He then began his story of how he had dropped out of school in the 6th standard to support his parents. His parents couldn't pay his school fees of 10 Paisa.
All this was happening while I was peeling garlic, chopping onions, slicing tomatoes and cutting chillies happily. We were both happy it was seen on both our faces.
Daddi Returns from the Field
She looked exhausted. She sat on a tiny stool called a chalk, and said,”From the time you get up to the time you sleep, I don’t sit down .” Today was different for her. She woke up at 6 which is late, made 6 rotis and had chai and rushed to her field. The field is half an hour away from where we stay.
She continues, “I come back again at 10-11 am to make lunch, wash the buffaloes,feed them and ask the devrani (Sister in Law) to graze them while they rush back in the fields.” This is she says with conviction, “I have no option, whether it rains, or it’s too hot to work, I need to get the work done.”
Daddi’s Sense of Humour
Daddi has this terrific sense of sadistic humour. So Dadda, Daddi have two houses, one’s near the road, and the other is 10 minute steep trek.
She told me, she’s getting old and has difficulty trekking up and down throughout the day. She thought of just shifting to the roadside house However she realised the complications of that. The roadside house has no space, and no sun. I interjected and said, why not build a cattle house down since you come down to sleep at night. She replied, “But I have to graze them on top.She could do something but whats the point if shes not alive.” I didn’t get it then, once I did, I laughed. She smirked at me. I washed the dishes and went to bed.