Ramalingam G (66), rice mill worker
I was born and brought up in Chennai. Years ago, after deciding to earn a living for myself, I began hunting for jobs for several months. But I failed to find anything. Finally, after searching for more than two years, I started working at a rice mill in Royapuram. It has been more than 35 years since then. Right from the beginning, I became comfortable with this work. Because of that, I did not feel the need to search for any other job. However, the business has come down in the recent years, especially after readymade flours and instant masala powders began proliferating the market. Also, there are no households without a mixer or grinder nowadays, which reduced the demand. However, what few realise is that the instant powders that you get do not have the original taste and they can also affect your health. Earlier, I use to earn Rs 1,000 per day. But now, getting even Rs 400 has become quite difficult. It is very hard to meet the household with this money. In my case, my wife and I are the only ones in the house, after my three sons moved out after marriage. They don’t look after us anymore, forcing us to fend for ourselves. As my income is not enough to run the family, my wife is working as domestic help. We are able to manage due to that. But in case of unforeseen expenses, we are forced to borrow money.