True stories of ordinary people with grit and determination.
Story number three.
Yellamma, who is about 77 years old hails from Jalahalli, Gauribidanur Taluk. Her parents had five children and Yellamma is the last. They belong to the ‘Kuruba’ community and were landless labourers. She was married to one Dalappa of Savalur, Hindupur Taluk in the Andhra-Karnataka border. Dalappa’s father used to grow crops on government land in Savalur, for a living.
Around 30 years ago, the whole family migrated to a hamlet near Singanayakanahalli, near Rajanukunte along the Doddaballapura highway. It is learnt that Yellamma gave birth to nearly twenty four children of which only five survived, when the family migrated. It was very difficult for any of the children to be educated. The boys barely managed to study till fifth and seventh standard. Yellamma and her husband managed to eke out a living as daily wagers by working in agricultural farms. They used to be paid in kind. About 100 kg.s of ragi per person per month used to be the remuneration. About twelve years ago, one of her sons aged twenty, died. The other three girls managed to get married and seek their own living. Her husband had died about twenty years ago.
The only surviving son lives about fifty kms away and he does not take care of the elderly mother. It is learnt that he stealthily took away her hard-earned savings of nearly three and a half Lakhs and jewellery. He has abandoned his first family with two children and has re-married. He has two children from his second marriage.
Yellamma, lives in a rented house in a colony which consists of dilapidated houses given to poor people by the government. She does not have a permanent residence as she is made to move from one shelter to another as per the whims of the owners. Even in her old age she still works as a labourer walking daily to an agricultural farm about five kms away. She eats one meal a day which is provided by the farm owner. She earns about Rs. 200 per day as wages.
It is learnt that her son keeps pestering her to take away even her meagre savings. Whenever, she falls sick, it is her widowed daughter who takes care of her. Even in this situation, it is an irony that, Yellamma is of the firm belief that it is her son who will complete her last rites. In spite of difficulties due to old age, Yellamma still goes to work daily. She still dreams of owning a permanent roof which she feels the government should have given her, because she is the most eligible person. She gives vent to her anger, when she says that many wealthy persons from her community have fraudulently managed to acquire the government facilities that are meant for the poor and the needy.