Gaurav Singh Parihar hails from a village near Jhansi and lives with his wife Sharda and their two sons in Barola village of Noida. He drives a car in one of the bungalows in Sector 47 in Noida.
“I make ₹17,000 every month. Rent straight away takes away ₹4000. Then another ₹4,000 goes into my boys’ education. Then there are daily rations and vegetables to be bought. It costs ₹150 on an average. Then, I occasionally make chicken and eat it though my wife and sons don’t touch it. Basically at the end of the month, I am left with no savings whatsoever. I drink once a month, may be but I don’t spend more than ₹150,” he says while playing cards with fellow drivers in Delhi’s Connaught Place area.
“How can you save? I have a single burner gas unit. I fill 3 kg of gas and it runs for ten days. Last year, the price was ₹70 per kg but now I am paying ₹90. Towards the end of 2016, a katta (10 kg) of atta was selling for ₹200. Now it is ₹300. Look at the prices of green vegetables. It looks like in another few years, the poor will have to eat just potatoes and roti,” he laments.
He continues, “2018 has been a horrible year, it has been as bad as 2017. So many of my relatives and friends have lost their jobs. They go back to the villages but there is no work there. They come to the cities and there are no jobs here. Everyone had expected so much from this government. But all Modiji does is talk and talk. He talks so much without doing anything. All he has done is bring more misery to the lives of the poor.
Today, I am dependent on my employers to tide over any emergency. My son was knocked down by a scooter in the beginning of the year. He was battling for his life in the hospital. Thankfully, my employers helped me out. But even, they are hard-pressed. I have seen them cut corners and tightening their belts. They have not had any salary raises for the last two years. So, how long can they help me?”
Gaurav has not watched any films in 2018 but says, “It is not just about money. I don’t like these new films. Even on cable, I watch old films. Their music is so much better.”
“I feel positive about 2019 because it can only be better. It can’t get any worse. This year, the country goes to polls. We want a government that talks less and works more. And they must check this price rise. Otherwise, all the poor people will simply perish,” he says.