Post 30, Sargana

Zaheeb Ajmal reports:

8:15 a.m.: Shanti Rishi has come to meet my host Gunvati Yadav with a request. Shanti is applying to open an account with the State Bank of India and would like Gunvati Yadav to stand guarantor: but Gunvati cannot since she does not have an account with that bank. Her daughter-in-law does, however, and agrees to act as the guarantor.

8:30 a.m.: Shanti Rishi is chatting with my host Gunvati Yadav. She is complaining about her husband’s brother and his wife, Harish and Shanti: according to her, they have been instigating her bahu (the local term to refer to one’s daughter-in-law) to separate from us.

“Our bahu doesn’t talk properly with us at all. Her husband Sundar, our own son, sides with her rather than supports us,” she rues.

 Gunvati Yadav consoles her: “Look, times are changing. I too have learnt it the hard way- so I just sit by the chulha (stove) all day while my bahu does her own thing. I don’t come in her way, and she leaves me alone. Children don’t listen to their parents any more: this is a common story.

“We have only a few more days to live. Let us try to live in peace. No point arguing with the next generation: they will not understand.” Gunvati continues.

“I don’t disagree with that- I also want to live in peace with everyone around me. But I would like my son to talk properly with me. Is that too much to ask of my own son?,” Shanti sobs.

11 a.m.: Shanti Rishi is at the State Bank of India branch at Sargana Block HQ. She is applying to open a bank account. However, the clerk at the counter tells her that she will need a PAN card if she wanted to open an account: the Aadhar card and voter identification card she currently has will not suffice as proof of identity here. The clerk tells her that she could try the customer service point in Roshanar village, less than two kilometres away, where the documents she has might work.

Disheartened, Shanti turns to return home.