Life can be tough, very, very tough

Ashok Ramchandra Pawar is 65 and life has been tough all these years. Ashok picks up fertiliser from the markets and sells it to residents in many parts of Pune, especially people who have small gardens in their homes.

He comes occasionally to our place and provides us the stuff. Today, he sounded quite low and when I asked him he told me about his woes.

Living in a distant village, he leaves home at 6 every morning and travels by a shuttle train, reaching Manjri station about three hours later. He then picks up his old cycle – he pays Rs10 a night for parking it at the station – and pedals several km across eastern Pune, selling the fertiliser he buys earlier in the day.

Ashok couldn’t go to school as his parents passed away when he – the lone child – was very young. He has two daughters, both married, and his wife is suffering from diabetes. Ashok, who doesn’t smoke or chew tobacco, suffers from tuberculosis, and is under treatment.

Adding to his woes, he fell from a tree a few years ago and can hardly use one of his hands. And the man struggles on in life, day in and out, through the searing summer months, the wet rainy season and the chilly winter months that will soon set in.

He still had a smile on his face though as he came calling this morning.

Indraprastha, Hadapsar, Pune
Oct 30, 2019

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