Beyond small mercies
December 25, 2013 01:16 IST
APHARD TIMES: Even in relatively well-off families, money is always in short supply and the comfort of the elderly often takes the back seat.
In the harsh lives of the elderly, the pension is a chance to enjoy small comforts — relieving their pain with some medicine, winning the affection of grandchildren with the odd sweet, or simply avoiding hunger
Rs. 200 / month? I spent Rs. 200 this morning. What did I get?
2 kg tomatoes – Rs. 80
6 santras – Rs. 45
1 kg atta – Rs. 36
1 loaf of bread – Rs. 38
Apart from the atta, which will last 4 days, the other items will be finished by tomorrow, by our family of 4. Not to mention provisions already in stock.
Why 2 kg tomatoes? Everyone at home is sniffly & sneezy. Cold and cough are going around. Tomato soup, made with onion, garlic, ajwain and tulsi aid our recovery. So will the santras.
The same cold and cough can turn much worse for the weak and hungry, especially without clean water, proper shelter or blankets. Or Rs. 200 for fruits and vegetables.
Food prices are through the roof. Six months ago I paid Rs. 150 for the above. Rice and wheat are subsidized – so far. What about pulses? The WTO has put the brakes on supplying oil and pulses in the PDS.
The elderly are rising – and not a moment too soon. We need their voice in the struggle for food security for all.