Ramamurthy’s family goes without luxuries to live within its budget
Ramamurthy did not feel the full impact of the price rise until his daughter’s wedding. The Ashok Leyland employee had a budget in mind for the wedding.
“But it went way beyond my estimates. On the wedding day alone, I had to spend more than Rs. one lakh,” he says.
Ramamurthy even had to get his family involved in making sweets for the wedding, a job which is normally entrusted to professional cooks.
“I had no option. It helped cut the wedding expenses somewhat,” he explains.
An Industrial Training Institute (ITI) certificate holder from Cuddalore, Mr. Ramamurthy has come a long way. He works for a company where pay packages are good for permanent employees.
But there are times when he feels that life as an apprentice worker, when he shared a room with friends who did their own cooking was far more comfortable.
Though Mr. Ramamurthy’s family qualifies as middle-class, he has to think twice before buying some things now.
“I used to buy good varieties of fish. But vanjiram and vavva are no longer on my menu. I have to be content with sankara and kizhanga, which cost less.
“We have also reduced our daily consumption of milk,” he says.
A father of two, he also takes care of his niece, who lives with his family. He has provided a decent education to his children and hopes that they will be able to do better. His daughter is a graduate and his son has completed a course in catering technology.
“I spent a lot of money for his education. But he has not been able to find a job,” he says ruefully.
Mr. Ramamurthy says the gold prices made a big hole in his pocket. “Can you think of a marriage without a minimum of 20 sovereigns?” he asks.
He points out that while he is relatively well off, there are casual workers who earn a tenth of what he does. “They are doing the same work as I do.
But, except for the daily wages, they are not entitled to any of the benefits that are extended to the regular workers. It is really sad,” he says.