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Poverty still major drawback in India, but nobody cares about it and we are concentrating on Commonwealth Games instead of looking towards the downtrodders of the society.

entertainment Updated: Aug 26, 2010 01:11 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times

The lamplight is not falling on him, but on the puddle behind him. Looking like his own silhouette, he re-arranges the stuff in his basket. Naresh Chandra, 30, sells ram ladoo, the classic Delhi street food.

We meet in Lodhi Road. It is late evening. Chandra is stationed on the pavement that has been newly built as part of the drive to spruce up the city for the Commonwealth Games. “See, it’s still full,” he points to the basket, placed at the top of a tripod-like wooden stand.

“I spent R 450 in making these laddoos and my earning today is just R 350.” Living in a rented room near Sewa Nagar railway crossing, Chandra’s world is confined to the area around Lodhi Road. “I keep walking and set up my stall wherever there is a crowd.”

Chandra has been in Delhi for ten years. His wife and his five children live in a village in Uttar Pradesh. The property includes two bulls and four buffaloes. “We grow wheat but the fertilizers are expensive and we don’t get enough produce.” In Delhi, he makes R 8,000 monthly.

“R 750 goes to the room rent and R 2,000 is the food bill. I send the remaining money home. We borrowed R 60,000 from a bank for my sister’s marriage so we have to pay back that amount too.” What will be the future of Chandra’s many children?

“Villages are not conducive to studies.” Bringing the family to Delhi does not make for a sound financial sense. Why did he have five children? Looking embarrassed, Chandra answers, “What to say?” The ram laddoo vendor then picks up the basket, places it on his head, fixes the tripod under his arm and starts walking towards Lodhi Garden, in search of customers.

First Published: Aug 25, 2010 16:14 IST