Whenever I go for my ritualistic walk in the forenoon, I'm privy to such common sights very often on the roads encircling my favorite park. The laws are lax and villagers use our roads as short cuts. A few days back somehow, I was inspired to click a particular twosome with their children in tow.
Our community which is known as 'Urban Estate' is carved out of acres of uncultivated Govt. land and is sandwiched between villages inhabited by poor and lower class people with small holdings or daily wage earners- carpenters, masons, plumbers, iron smiths, gardeners et al. All sorts of handy men. Some small farmers by dint of hard work saved enough money, bought more land and acquired a new status of being farmers. Over time, they've become economically strong and own all household gadgets, bikes and even cars. Their children go to English Schools in buses, wearing neat and clean uniforms and look much smarter than their parents.
Irrespective of caste and creed every one in these villages has progressed economically and also in social awareness, within a few years. The change is more apparent among women folk. Their eagerness to improve their lives is exemplary.They move out wearing clean clothes, hair in buns and washed faces.
Wives of many of the artisans and working class people in these villages work as maids and cooks in our community and earn handsome wages plus invaluable interaction with educated people and off days in between. Actually these maids call the shots and all try to help them with money and pieces of advice. In fact the demand for them outstrips the supply. They are smart and energetic, possess mobile phones, exchange information with their mistresses in emergencies.
However, there is one segment, though better than before, still lags behind in pro-activity. It is to this group that the above women seem to belong to. Their men, lazy and addicted to intoxicants- which are freely available- miss work days often because of recurrent illnesses and remain cooped in their own unhealthy practices. They don't allow their wives to work out of ignorance. Hence they wallow in poverty. The women have to go to collect dry fallen twigs from the trees standing on both sides of the highway to cook food. After the back breaking exercise of couple of hours, they stoically manage to feed their brood. Still they appear to be happy with their lot as I found one of them busy talking on the phone and smiling. Another thing which is conspicuous is that no man is ever seen carrying such bundles.It is always a woman's prerogative.
I wonder why these women don't send their children to school even as education up-to middle school is free and compulsory. The reason obviously is parents' apathy.
Friends, welcome to say something.