Lakshmi woke up early that day. She needed to complete the chores early so that she can go to work early. Her manager Ram babu has asked her to finish cutting the paddy from two more fields. If she can complete the work one day, next day she can take up some other work.
The final deal was for 1000 bucks for two lands. Because she has gotten a bigger pie of the work so she had to give some discount to Ram Babu. He is a regular employer for her. One thousand is not a bad income for her family for one day. She has taken her husband Ramesh and elder son Lakhan too.
Every harvest season daily wage farmers like Lakshmi have a bonanza. Even though the harvest season is short and they don’t get enough work every season as all the work comes together and they have a limit to take up the job as well. Her husband Ramesh comes from the nearby town during this time in the hope of having some easy income. He works in an apartment as a watchman.
Lakhan studies in class IX, he is 17 now. He is working with his mother in this job for last three years. Initially Ram babu used to scold them for employing a child labour but for families like her it hardly matters. They have only these opportunities to earn. This is the reason Lakahan did not get promotion to the next class the first year. But it is ok for the labourers like them. He will soon find out a job in a multiostoried apartment in nearby town and will go there. For the family Roti is more valuable than kapda or Shiksha.
Lakshmi needed to prepare food before they go to work – simple roti and sabji. Last night Padma had given her a gobi from their field that will make good curry for three of them. Her plan was to be at work by 8 am so that they could complete the work by same evening. Her only worry was Lakhan. Who was suffering from yellow fever till a few days ago. Local hakim had told him to take rest. But for daily labourers there is no rest. If they take rest, their stomach doesn’t listen to them.
They were ready by 7:30 am. The fields are not far off. Ramesh will take them on his cycle.
It was a bright sunny morning when the family set out for their work. They also hope one day their children will make their lives happier. The dream of owning acres of farm land and dozens of tractors still a distant dream. Ramesh only hopes that the elder one studies hard and come upto their expectation.
They went to Ram Babu’s southern most land first. This land was the farthest from their house and the smallest too. The sun was shining so bright that they started thinking if the task could be completed in time. They didn’t wait any farther, immediately started working.
The family has worked very hard all day along. They have completed the work after 10 hours of tough battle. Lakhan is indeed learning very fast.
Tired, exhausted and almost out of life the family returns to their in the evening after completing the task. The merciless sun has sucked their blood the whole day. The last drops of their blood was soaked in sunlight and dried up in thin air. The mud, sweat and dust have changed their body odour. They came home and took bath in their nearby well. They can’t afford costly soaps that leaves impressive odour. They use Lifebouy that has no special smell but claims to destroy germs, the soap for the Indian poor.
That evening the family went to bed in their one bedroom house little early. All of them were really exhausted. The children slept on the bed and the parents on the floor. The only small window in the room brought beautiful and soothing moonlight inside.
Lying down on the floor, Lakshmi and Ramesh were staring at the moon. The soothing moon gave them the much required relief after a very tiring day. This moon brought a ray of hope in their lives of a better tomorrow. Earning one thousand rupees in one day is a big achievement for this daily wage labourer family. Probably now Lakshmi can buy that sari that she liked last summer.
Ramesh worked hard that day to finish 50% of the total work himself so that Lakshmi and Lakhan could share rest of work. He realized that his family needed better attention from him.
Lying down beside him, Lakshmi dragged him towards her, looked at his face, got up slowly, caressed him and kissed on his lips. It was a long time they have kissed each other. A couple who sleep in a rom with their own children hardly gets any personal time for lovemaking. A couple always bothered about their income can’t even think of romance. Hunger and future safety eats their brain out all the time. Eventually these problems have killed their emotions too.
India’s poor do not think about romance or rape. They think only about food. One day’s high income has indeed brought romance back in Lakshmi’s mind. After a long time she got her emotions back.
Ramesh held her tight, prolonged the smooch. The moon once again witnessed another couple falling in love. The smell of sweat and mud mixed with their lifebouy soap has created a new flavour for Lakshmi. This was precious than the smell of Sandalwood perfume to her. This was more seducing than anything else at that moment. She discovered that this was her smell of love that she was searching for a long time.