Saturday, March 7, 2009

8th March in the life of Radha...

Ram Ram! I am Radha- daughter of Kasiram, gram - Berkheda, District- Raisen .My papa and bai (my mother) both are fulltime workers on the fields of Hariram chachha.We have built a small hut on the field and my Amma(grandma) also lives with us. I am not sure about my exact age, but I think I am 15-16 years old. I have a younger brother- Samu, 9-10 yeras old.
They say today is "women's day" - I hope we have some program in the iskool ground like pandra agast when they give laddoo. What I will do today? Why, I will do all that I do everyday.....
Everyday I get up pretty early with Bai and Amma . Before sunrise we finish with our daily cleaning . I sweep and tidy the hut first, then the front area. Then I start the chulha (earthen stove ) partly with lakdi and kande (dried cowdung ). I learnt to ignite the chulha some 5-6 years ago - my Amma taught me! At first , I used to get irritated due to the smoke- my eyes burnt and it made me breathless - but now I am used to it.Once I start it , my Amma takes over - She cooks rotis while I wake Samu up . Then we all have tea with the milk Bai brings.
We get drinking water from the new tap in front of the government hospital- Samu accompanies me. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the hospital on foot from our house. With 2 pots and 2 cans we fetch the necessary amount in 2 rounds. If sometimes we need toffy(chocolates) - we sell the water at Rs.2 per pot and Rs.5 per can.
Amma in the meanwhile goes and tends to the babies - she bathes and massages them and gives them a daily sunbath in the early morning sun. Bai - she works a lot! She plants some vegetables in the khalihan (our small kitchen garden). Every morning she looks after the khalihan selects some vegetables for our household and some to sell. Then off she goes and sells those door to door.
Then Samu goes to iskool. I like his basta, he carries kapy -pen(book and pen) and silate(slate) in it.He also has a bag for iskool. That Chauhan aunty (bai works as a maid at her house) gave him. Papa says Samu must study till class 10 then he will also work in the fields. Chauhan aunty had asked Bai to educate me but papa says "no need, what will she do learning?" Sometimes I try to write like Samu.
Then I go collecting cowdung - in summers it is scanty. I have to be fast because other girls are also out there collecting it. Then I come back and make kande (dried cowdung cakes used as fuel). You just have to shape it like a disc and leave it to dry in the sun.
When the Sun is at the apex in the sky,Bai and papa return from the fields and we eat roti with sabji or dal . Then I clean up the utensils and accompany Bai to the houses where she works as a maid. I sweep and wipe the floor, she washes utensils and clothes. So it gets done faster and we can work at more places. I get to watch Tv at these places sometimes.
Then we go home before its dark. I dont like to go home these days. Our neighbour, Sita Bai comes over and keeps discussing my marriage with Amma and Bai. I overheard her saying yesterday that I am old enough to be married off and comparing me to her daughter (Geeta) who is married and a mother of 2 already. But Bai said, " We do not have enough money right now". Sita Bai said" People of our caste are getting concerned as to why Radha is still not married" They will get me married this year, they say. I hope whoever they get me married off to doesnt drink and beat me up. I have seen quite a few bruises on Geeta. Also, Kantas mother-in-law never lets her step out of the house except for Bhai- duuj when she gets to see her parents.
Today when i go to Chauhan auntys house, I will ask her about 'womens day'. I know about independence day - when India got independence from British Raj.
I wonder what womens day has freed women from.


  1. a very sensitively written, well framed post. congratulations on such wonderful writing. Happy Womens Day To You.

  2. This piece really touched my heart! We talk about womens liberation. But when we are doing that, we are only focussing on the few who are up there in the limelight. There are so many others, for whom life is still difficult, made more so by the people in their lives. Well written Ma'm!! And here's wishing you a Happy Women's day. Hope we can make a difference to make the lives of other women a little better!

  3. @AS: Happy Women's Day to you :) thank you very much for your compliments.

  4. @Stillness Speaks : Happy Women's Day to you!
    These women need help, there is a need of reform in the village sector. After generations of suppression, these women think differently, lead their lives differently - it torments me whenever I watch them closely. I have seen ,visited and lived in these remote areas as a child - not many times have I seen NGOs or social workers helping them (busy in the cities or like to "supervise operations" from there?) I hope in the next several years there will be some change in their lives and they will celebrate Women's day in the true sense :)

  5. I completely agree with your views..It's cruel to be born a woman in the rural areas of India. Years of torture in every which way, you're right has conditioned them to accept it all as their lot. But this has to change. People donate to charity and NGO's. How is all that money utilized is anybody's guess. Wish there is more transparency and people don't hesitate before helping the under-privileged. Wish their lot improves in our lifetime and doesn't take centuries.

    How did your exam go?

  6. my heart was very heavy by the time i finished reading ur post,i almost had tears in my eyes...u know sometimes i feel we always crib abt our living condns,our probs,n all tht we go thru...but actually there r so many ppl who go thru sooo much more than we can even imagine....after reading ur post i feel i m the luckiest person,n have no probs at all!

  7. @Stillness Speaks: My exam was not half as bad as I expected it to be! :)
    Yah, what we really need are good, honest and well educated people taking the initiative to help out. After all, the rural areas are as much a part of our society as you or me. Thank you very much. Its nice to know people like you still exist who do feel the need for a faster change.

  8. @ Sweety: My intention in publishing this post was to highlight the much-forgotten part of Indian Society---the villages. If my post touched your heart, I consider myself successful in getting my message across. Thanks for the comment and do keep visiting.

  9. Ur comment encouraged me to write more. Infact it shows that content rules..not the length of a post.
    Thanx. And nahhh script writing..well.. havent thot bout it yet.. hahaa..
    Il let u know when I publish the 3rd part of the story.

    Btw, U write grt... and ur rite..the vilages r so much important.. We who stay in the cities hardly ever think bout em but we must...thats the only way to progress.

    Ill read more of u too.
    Anand. :-)

  10. @Anand : ya conent surely rules, length of the post doesnt matter :D

    ya village upliftment is important so is the upliftment of the women .

    thank you for your encouraging words.

  11. good one..are yu a member of fightback too?? catch it on facebook

  12. @ani_aset: I really dont know about fightback. Please let me know what it is - i am not on facebook, sadly.


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