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A good meal remains a mirage

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Tough times: Potharaju Darshan’s family in Yenkepally village of Ranga Reddy dt. who are facing a debt burden due to rising prices. -
Tough times: Potharaju Darshan’s family in Yenkepally village of Ranga Reddy dt. who are facing a debt burden due to rising prices. -

Suresh Krishnamoorthy

‘Goddu karam’ and ‘pachi pulusu’ is staple diet of many

Yenkepally (Ranga Reddy dt.): From chicken or mutton at least once a week, this family is down to ‘goddu kaaram’ (chilli paste) and ‘pachi pulusu’ (water tamarind soup) every other day.

Not just an indicator of falling nutrition levels, the situation holds a mirror to the depleting fiscal resources of Potharaju Darshan and his family comprising his wife and three children, in this village of Moinabad mandal, 35 km away from the State capital.

Nightmarish

His is a classic example of how skyrocketing prices of edible oil, rice, dal and other cereals and vegetables on one hand and increasing medical expenses on the other, have made each day a nightmare for most people. Darshan has two daughters, both married and a son, Chandu, studying in second year Intermediate.

‘Goddu kaaram’ is a raw mix of chillies - either green or red, mashed in a mortar with onion and salt to taste. ‘Pachi pulusu’ is plain uncooked mixture of tamarind soup and a few pieces of vegetables.

“These days it is simply impossible for us to even think of non-vegetarian dishes. On days when my children insist, I am forced to buy two eggs at Rs. 2 each and throwing in an onion, just scramble it. What can we do?” rues his wife.

“Two years ago I could buy a can of oil for Rs. 950. The same cost me Rs. 1,400 two months ago. These days we are only buying what we need for a day or two. The last can of oil and a sizeable quantity of rice and dal was bought for my second daughter’s wedding last month,” he said. Each visit to the neighbourhood ‘kirana’ shop is a dreadful experience with prices shooting up.

Works as labourer

While he has a piece of land that is valuable now, given the real estate boom around the State capital, particularly in Ranga Reddy, his last crop was paddy last year. He has worked more as farm labour in other people’s land and been able to spend less time in his own piece of land in the past five years and his income comes largely from the Rs. 80 a day he earns as labour.

Darshan’s father passed away last year after protracted illness that saw him spending about Rs. 1 lakh for medical facilities over a period of four years. He performed the marriages of his two daughters by scraping his meagre savings and borrowing money. “The loans were only possible because of the value of my land. I do not wish to sell it away for fear of losing my only immoveable asset,” he avers.


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