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.