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Udai Ba

village Pathon Ki Athi, Panchayat Sangawas, Block Bhim, District Rajsamand

"I have spent most of life in this village and been in home with my wife until she passed away five-six months back. We have no one else except for each other. Daily existence is dependent upon the old age pension and disability pension which is a measly 500 Rs per month. The postal order of the pensions stopped getting delivered and for eight months it never reached our doorstep leaving me to beg in every house in the village until none left to be asked from twice. My wife was disabled and bed ridden. She could not even go to toilet and soiled the bedding. She used to keep a big stone beside her bed since she heard that a snake is lingering in and around the village. She was giving up day by day in front of me to the extent that her needs changed from food to protection from snake bite. For how long an old human body can survive on boiled maize grains? Not long. She left the rock, the bed, the snake and me behind one morning. She died with a stomach that was empty for five days. I have enrolled myself in the muster roll and work in NREGA. I come regularly to mark my attendance. I earn and have money to feed myself. All the money came a day later after she died. The postman marked 'dead' as the reason to send back the money to the authorities and all these hustle was because her death was reported by a leading newspaper. Today I get full meals, even a baati sometimes only on the condition that I hand over my pension and ration to my brother's family. " Background: A nearly 85 year old man, from a village which have no road connectivity.

                                               written by Tamalika Bera

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