I am 63 years old now. I am living alone since forever I guess. I was all of 8 years maybe, when my parents left me on the streets of Kota, Rajasthan. I had no idea what to do, where to go and what to do with myself. I don’t even remember their faces now, after all these years. Those were the days when I could not even afford to drink water by myself.
Many months passed. I struggled a lot to survive. I got a job in the agricultural sector where I used to earn 2 rupees per day. You might be wondering how someone can earn just 2 rupees for a day’s work! But then, in those days 2 rupees were equivalent to 200 rupees now. I could easily have my meals with that money and even saved a little bit for rainy days.
After a year, I switched into a garment shop as a worker. There I earned 100 rupees per month. Gradually I managed to save a lot. I started dreaming of a better future. After continuing in the same job for almost 3 years, I started my own garments business. Things were going pretty well.
It’s just been 2 years since I came to this old age home. I was never married. There wasn’t anyone to plan my future so meticulously and secure it with a family. Neither was I so farsighted. With no one to fall back on, and age catching up with time, my strength started giving up. Maybe this is the reason why I sold my shop few years back and came to settle in an old age home to live peacefully.
I was a middle class man. After life-long struggles, I had started feeling that this business would take me nowhere. I did not even know who I am going to give my shop after I die. It made sense to pass the fruits of my struggles to a logical successor and retire from the grill, finally. By then I had made sufficient savings too. So I decided 5 years back that by 60, I am going to stop everything and move to an old age home. I wanted to live with some new people to care for, and be taken care of. Today I feel that it was the right decision. In this old age home I am living happily with some new friends. We laugh together, eat together and stand by each other in happiness and pain. If this is not family, what else is?
Storyteller : Devraj Daga
As told to Ritika Jain