Friday, 13 January 2017

Harvesting Love!

“‘Twenty five rupees???...!!!”

‘Aama ma!’

“That’s too much. I’ll give 20 each and take two! Give me two sugarcanes for forty rupees! Here have it!”

A lady alighting from her luxury sedan along with her daughter, was bargaining intensely and fervently ‘in all seriousness,’ with a poor old man - at a roadside stall - that had sprouted up right in time for the festival of pongal!

‘Varaadhu ma! Engalukku katupidiyaagaathu!
(not possible madam. It wont tally profitably for us!)

“Enna ma? why are you trying to cheat me first thing in the morning? This is too much. I came much in ‘advance’ of pongal just to get it at a discounted price, but even today if you are selling these sugarcane for 25 Rs, then what will I do?”

Illa ma. You can ask all the road-side vendors in this part of Anna Nagar if you want! But it’s not possible.

Onnum vendam! (i don't need them!) Come girlie let’s go! 

Saying thus, she leaves the place in a huff with her daughter, seething with anger, yet very happily contented and heaving a sigh of great satisfaction that… that… she didn’t have to part with her ‘saved by a whisker,’ ‘huge sum,’ of money from her wallet!

An incident that distressed me among a couple of other bystanders - very very much - this morning, even as I was sipping my cuppa chaai in the chill-bogi morning!

This impactful incident indeed set my mind wondering!

Without a teeny-weeny twinge of conscience, she stopped short of buying it for a paltry sum of Rupees five!

This set my mind wondering!

Well, can we even make a bid to bargain for a fiver at a branded retailer or at the mushrooming poshy Supermarkets that have sprouted up by the dozen in each nook and corner of the city?

Hell no!

The fixed price tag offers no defence or resistance of any means, for all unsuspecting customers who foot the bill with the meekiest cringe and get the produce without a whimper!
Already, news like ‘Cauvery Crisis: Crop Fails, Tamil Nadu Farmer Commits Suicide,’ have become our daily dose of distressing staple for a long time now, close on the heels of the Tamil Nadu chief minister O. Panneerselvam declaring all the 32 districts of the state as drought-hit!

Perumal, a farmer who had sown paddy on two acres of land in Nagapattinam, collapsed and died last month – unable to digest the crop failure. He died from extreme grief and worry say his neighbours.
 His close friend and neighbor Mr. Jaya Bhaskar says that, “Perumal was unable to repay the Rs 7,000 loan he had borrowed for agriculture. He also borrowed some money to run his family. Over the months he was deeply disturbed and was worried about repaying the loans. He would constantly say that he had lost everything pointing at his wilting crops.”
Well, we don’t get a chance to remember the backbone of our lives – the precious farmer – throughout the year!

At least during the harvest festival, which honours their toil and labour – deep down in the farms – for our luxurious sumptuous living – there toils like - a labourer looking bleakly at the sun and the sky, with palpitations agitations that rise higher and higher from the time the crop is sown until the time it is gotten ready for harvest and subsequent marketing before it comes down to the retail grocer, dutifully designed and attractively packaged – for SALE!!!

Please please! Let’s NEVER bargain with the farmer and his produce!

On the contrary, let’s together make a goody resolve!

Let’s all of us together decide to… buy the earthen pots as much as possible, and sugarcane and all the related paraphernalia by the dozen this pongal,

not only because we’re going to cook in them on Pongal day, but also as a token of our small appreciation for the labour and the love of the farmer towards us all!

Oh please… for heaven’s sake… let’s stop the bargaining with the ‘already distraught’ farmer!

Let’s stop demeaning their labour!

Let’s stop dishonouring agriculture!

Let’s Respect the farmer!


Our future lies in the farmer’s frail hands and fragile body!

Wish you a Happy Pongal! 

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