True stories of ordinary people with grit and determination.
Story number two
I have known a person who comes near our house pushing a cart selling vegetables. Even though she is sixty years old she still works because she wants to support her grand-children’s education.
This is the story of Rathnamma who hails from Hosur ( T.N. ) . She doesn’t remember her date of birth, but told both her parent’s names. Her mother-tongue is Telugu and she belongs to the Scheduled Caste. She was born to Hanumanthappa and Chinnamma. Her father passed away when she was seven, but she said he took good care of her and the rest of her family till he was alive. Rathnamma was born after twelve years of her parent’s marriage. Later, a brother and a sister were born. Their family owned three acres of S.C. land. They lost the land because their uncle refused to give them their land.
Rathnamma worked as a bonded labourer for twelve years, tending to cows, cleaning the sheds etc. She was married to Muniappa who is also from Tamil Nadu ( Lakshmipura). He had five acres of land . Together, they used to grow ground-nuts, ragi, toor-dal and other seasonal lentils. During pregnancy of her third child, her husband deserted her. By then her two other children also had died. She migrated to Bangalore and delivered a male child and named him Suresh. She started working as a mason’s help. All alone she managed to bring up Suresh by giving him education upto S.S.L.C. Suresh is now married to one Veena and the couple have two children aged 18 and 15 years, who are studying in a hostel belonging to a Catholic institution. It is learnt that Suresh took to liquor early and abandoned the family. Now, Veena earns about Rs. Ten thousand per month working as a domestic help. The eldest grandchild, Manjunath manages to earn about Rs. Two thousand per month by washing vehicles early morning before going to college.
It is the grit and determination of Rathnamma which drives her daily routine of selling vegetables on a push-cart to augment the earning of the family, mainly to support her daughter-in law and grand-children. She invests about Rs two-thousand per day in her small business. She manages to make a daily profit ranging from Rs. 100 to 400. She says that she averages about 8 to 10 kilometres daily, pushing the cart. She says that her husband is still alive, residing in Tamil Nadu ( Lakshmipura) and that, he has married about seven times already.
When queried a little more, she revealed that, she has a voter’s Identity Card, Aadhar Card and Ration Card. She lives in a rented Tin-sheet house in a slum area around Yelahanka. Though she is aware of the facilities for the S/C and S/T people, she has not been able to avail of any facility till now. When prodded, some more about a permanent house, she said that she was not interested in any of those, except that she wishes her grand-children to grow up as educated citizens.