Sunday, December 9, 2012

Chapter Fifteen: Not Without My Puppy

"You don’t have to go far in South Asia for a Reality Check.  Until his brother-in-law got settled in the Gulf and started sending money back, Lobsang was the sole support of his entire extended family, three adults, five kids, three dogs and a cat.  As a grocer, he could at least feed his kin with his inventory until his brother-in-law was able to contribute.  For so many others, not working meant not eating at all.  I worried most about the old ladies who picked and sold stinging nettles (which are used to make a cheap and nutritious soup).  They came in on foot from the countryside each afternoon, hauling huge loads of greens on their bent backs. They handled the nettles with rubber gloves, and sold them for a few rupees a bag. On a good day they could make five dollars.  How did these people manage to live during a bandh?  You can’t survive for long eating nothing but your own nettles."