Suresh was walking back home after a day’s hard work. There were dark clouds in the sky and he hoped to reach home before it rained. Initially the rains here had troubled him. In his home town it did not rain like it did here. Home was the town of Badami. The lack of rains had created so many problems. There had been no rains for two years. The land was parched. They had to walk for miles to fetch water. Life had become one continuous struggle.
Some of his friends had told him that that there was plenty of work in the towns in coastal Karnataka. He did not want to go to big cities. Life was a struggle there too. He was used to open spaces. He did not mind small towns. He and his family had left the Deccan plateau and descended the western ghats. They had found work in this town. Due to educational and employment opportunities in big cities the local workers had moved away.
The work he did here was different from what he was used to back home. Here there were betelnut and coconut plantations. Every morning he and the others gathered in the town centre. From there the land owner’s agent would take them to the plantation.
Many more people had come from his region. They all lived in the same area. It helped because it prevented them from feeling homesick. Once in three months they went home. There was a night bus which was very convenient. While returning they carried sacks full of provisions like jowar and ragi and other millets . These were very expensive here.
Life was different and he missed his home. But he was glad because he could send his two children to school. He wanted them to study and lead a better life. This was his dream. He and his wife prayed daily that this dream would come true.
My young friend, Meghana, sent this photo to me. It is of workers returning home in the evening. This is near my parents’ home where they lived till 2015. Meghana asked me to write a story. I liked this photo very much.