How do you know where to look for taro?
I have these ideas, after 7-8 years roaming here, where this can be found, I have experience. For example, I travel, like you travel different places, I will go there today, it would be some cost. Then after seeing that place, one thing is understood that things will be available, then the things will be cut. After that day, I went further somehow. I went further. If I had money, there would be no problem – once I know that that in a way or the other I can manage come back… this is how one day I went up to Manikgonj. The hospital in Manikgonj, the entire area of the hospital – the nurses, everyone knows me there. That land is special, it is owned by the government [hence it is possible to access it and collect wild growing plants]. And it is a high region, there is no flood. Look, the flood destroy land on this side. But on that side, the flood cannot reach. For that reason, plants are not destroyed, and you’ll find them every time, they grow all over the year. As winter is coming, slowly the availability will decrease now; it will increase again from the month of magh [January-February].
Have you travelled anywhere else apart from Dhaka and Gaibandha?
Yes, Manikgonj, the place you went to. I went beyond that too; I went way beyond that place to sell goods: Maniknagar, Sheural.
How far is it from here?
It’s very far from here… you remember when you went in Manikgonj? From there, it would take another 8-10Tk by rickshaw: it is farer away than even that place. I go and sell goods there quite often. It doesn’t take long if you have the goods and a vehicle… I just have to load my taro stems and go. But now I’ll have to leave, it’s already 11 o’clock.
Will you get back immediately or will you go around a little?
No, I will not roam around; I finish my work and start for home. I don’t go around extra, I am travelling for work: I don’t have to go around separately, I’ll go from one place to another, then another anyway: this is travelling itself! Yes, there are nurseries to see around, other very nice places, but I do not know their names; I only pass and see them, I don’t know their names. I only mind my business, nothing else. I only think of doing my work. I don’t like anything else, or going around for enjoyment.
Are’t the paddy fields, the rivers, the villages good to look at?
Well, paddy fields are most beautiful in my region. These are nothing; in my region, all crops are good.
Why? Aren’t they all alike?
Yes, but others work less hard on their fields, they don’t clear out the weed. And they get more money out of their fields, in one unit of land, they’d get about 5 lakhs Taka; on 2 units, you’ll get 10 lakhs. They think of selling, as you see, there is no land, no space in Dhaka. It is not the same in my village… over there, we produce for ourselves first, and then think of earning.