Balangir poor make hay when the sun shines
Sudhir Mishra | Balangir
While the economically sound dare not to venture out in the summer and are able to beat the torrid heat in the air-conditioned and other cooling-system-furnished cosy cubicles, the poor and economically weaker section have to brave the sultry summer and the vagaries of the burning sun in a bid to quell the pangs of hunger and eke out a living every day here with the mercury hovering above 44 degree Celsius.
One’s sensitive eyes can bump into such a pathetic scene outside the Collectorate here and find the hapless rural-folk struggling in the backdrop of the sunstroke-prone loo and selling scrumptious summer fruits Khajur (date palm) and Taal (palm) while the shade of a few tress serves them with some succour to sustain their struggle for existence.
“We used to get plenty of Taal earlier and made a seasonal fortune by selling its Taalsaj (delicious kernel), but now the quantity has declined and also our sales,” rued Makardhwaj Jued of Jiratramal village, adding that they risk their lives by climbing the tall trees just to manage the livelihood in the dry season.
“We start selling in the morning, but as the day advances and the mercury starts soaring, a few thirsty and hungry lot come and haggle and already it is noon and we would be awaiting customers till evening,” another seller said.
The Khajur trees in the rural areas are vanishing fast as they have been felled for construction of roads, consumption of its tuber and other purposes and it has become extremely difficult to eke out a living by selling it, both the sellers complained.
However, the middle-aged rural woman’s asking this scribe to purchase some Khajur was heart-penetrating and sounded most significant for the Fourth Estate when she made an appeal saying mere photographing of her selling is meaningless and the few media men capturing her photograph stood stunned.