Aijer – If there is money, it is not a problem to get on transport.
How much would you have to pay?
Suppose, I have to spend 100 or 10-20 less than that to move around this place only [to retrieve taro]. And when we bring the supplies to Dhaka, it costs us 150-100 Taka. Which means that, in total, my expenditures cross 200Tk daily, daily. For our supplies, to carry those by truck.
Oh, you have to pay extra to carry those?
Of course, for the supplies we carry to Dhaka, those you see us selling in Dhaka. After collecting them, we bind the supplies in pile, right? It takes 100Tk to transport the piles: only the transportation costs amount to at least 200 Taka. Should we eat while outside, then even 250 would be not enough. That is why I go to Dhaka in a lots of struggles and come back again struggling; and why I eat only at home and nowhere else. For example, my brother eats up 20-30 Taka at the bazar. I don’t eat a single Taka, not a single Taka: I come back as I went, and there [at the village] I do shopping for lunch. Earlier, business at the bazar was running well, I had sales of 600-700-800-900 Taka! Now, my health condition is not good, and it doesn’t feel good. It does not feel good to work. When the income is good, it feels good to work, it gets a good taste. Nowadays the income is low, so I don’t feel like going, I just feel bad. Does one feel like going to work when the income is low? Suppose, I earn 500Tk and have transport costs of 200. With 300, I have to sustain one whole night and one day; then my two days are passed, again I’ll earn 500, from which 200 go away on transport, and I’m left with 300Tk. For this reason, these days I’m going more rarely; when the market situation will improve, then I’ll go [more regularly].
When is that?
In the months of falgun and chaitra [mid February-mid April], taro leaves and these things run well on the market. In winter they die; in that time, all non-perishable vegetables sell good. And in this time of the year [October-November], some of them decay, some keep growing but those wouldn’t be strong. Alike, in summer a child becomes taller and bigger and in winter, it contracts, it will not grow. These too are like children, aren’t they?
Sometimes you get a vehicle, sometimes you don’t: how comes?
You know, the small pick-up trucks in Dhaka, they all go to Savar and bring in those things while coming back. So, these days, there are less of these vehicles… today, they all told me they’re going to Kawran Bazar only.
Isn’t Mirpur on the way when going to Kawran Bazar?
Yes but the fair they can take till Mirpur is lower; you see, I don’t have much money with me, but if a vehicle coming from the Tangail Road goes directly to Kawran Bazar, then they can earn more raising a higher fair, maybe 1,000-2,000Tk; whereas mine would be max 100… nor can I break down the route and change vehicles. The fair will actually go higher. I would for sore find vehicles, but the fair would be higher. Money goes away… I just left 5tk at the shop where I bought onions: I was to take back the change, but forgot it….so, I lost it there.
So, which vehicle did you get today at 5-6 in the morning?
You know the bus by which we’ve come back from Mirpur 1 today – well, a similar bus. I came on that bus!
And you put your goods on the roof?
No, I carried them inside itself.
Do you think you’ll manage to resettle in Gaibandha, as you said earlier?
Yes, I definitely hope so, within one year. I hope so… if I am alive; and if not, then I’ll be gone. If Allah keeps me alive, then I’ll go back home.
But you have your own home here…
I have home… but I could work on my own land as well, and live there too! It cannot be a good solution that someone else is keeping my land, right? Trees and vegetables need to be planted; this won’t happen unless I’m being present in the village. People would destroy it. And over here, we are just temporary, earning a bit, that’s it. There is income but this will not be forever.
For how long have you been here?
I think I have been here for eight years.
Has there been any changes in these eight years in Gaibandha?
Yes, there have been changes! For instance, my condition has changed: let’s say, I had a piece of land of the size of this room, now it is four times bigger: isn’t it better? Things have improved.
This was a development?
Yes, this was a development.
How did you come about this development?
Sacrificing, working, selling at the bazar; now I have a place to build a house… I just have to build a house. Think, before coming I was in a bit of a difficult situation, but now things have become easier… right? You need moving within the society… before I didn’t have money; I had to come to Dhaka for earning. Now I have some money and can move in the society with dignity…right? This is the advantage.