A Day In A Village

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I stir into wakefulness. For some time I listened to the silence about me, reveling in the absence of traffic noises, but still, apart for the lonely noises of a motorcycle or a tractor, there was never any traffic here. You had more chance to hear dogs or hens than traffic.

Then I looked at our old clock. Already 5:30! How could that be possible? It meant I had overslept!

Hurriedly I got out of bed and woke up my wife. She chided me lightly for getting up so late, not very convincing for she hadn’t woken up either. The chances of this were nearly none, and it was possibly the first this had happened. Our children where already up, since 5, like usual. We all took our breakfast consisting of rice and curry. Exceptionally, my wife had prepared salted pancakes, and we all happily dipped them in a peanut curry. Our taste buds intent on gathering every possible ounce of taste, we did not talk.

Usually, other families ate breakfast after mass, around 7, when ones’ hunger really arouse. But we liked eating as a family, and as we would start to find work round 6, we would eat before mass. After breakfast, we all got ready to go out, the youngsters to mass, and us to try and find some labor. After mass, our children would soon go to catechism, then school would start with an assembly, where they would pledge allegiance to India. We were lucky that the Father and Sisters here helped us for education,or our children wouldn’t have any!

Our way to fin work for the day was similar to that of the others, and it simply consisted in hanging around till we were employed. Men on one side, women on the other. This was not caused by discrimination, but simply by the fact that the men would go for harder work, which also meant a higher salary. Our salaries were usually of around rs50 for women, and rs 75 for the men. In Euros, our salaries where of a bit less of a Euro to a bit more of a Euro. It doesn’t sound as much, and it isn’t much, but it’s enough to live.

Today we got lucky, for it was time for cotton picking, meaning that all the men got employed. The salary was of rs2 per kg of cotton. Seeing that cotton is very light, a lot of cotton has to be collected for a kg. Usually, in a days work, we would manage to collect around 40 kg each, resulting in the healthy sum of rs80. But this year the rain had been scarce, resulting in the fact that less cotton buds had matured into the cotton fruit. Not only was it bad for the field owners, who would feel the effects for the next few years, but it also meant we had to work harder for every kg we picked. The result was that we were lucky to collect 30kg by the end of the day. This also made our salaries lower, making that we too felt the economical effects of the scarce rains. At the end of the day, I met up with my wife. She hadn’t found any work today, making that she had idled around all day. This was not very unusual, and as we weren’t workaholics, my wife didn’t think of it as a wasted day. We Indians were all very casual, none of us thinking of a day in seconds, or evens minutes. Even hours weren’t very important to us. That night, when all of us had finished our respective jobs, we ate dinner: curry and rice. We ate dinner pretty late, round 8 and 9. Afterwards, we went to sleep, and tomorrow, all would start again.


One Response

  1. I totaly missed your wedding, I’m so sorry!!!

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