The Fence

by Jambulingam
(Bangalore Karnataka India)

After I graduated I applied for a white collar job at various places. I attended all the interviews whenever I was called. I had spent more money in on typing, sending my applications by registered post and attending interviews than my college fees.

I told my Professor that I was no where not successful. He was a friend, philosopher and guide to all of his students. According to Following his advice I decided to go to my village and set up a poultry farm. My parents stayed in the city, since my father had a job with the government.

Seeing me with my bag and packages, my grandmother thought that I had gone there for my a vacation. I told her about my plan. She was happy to know that I had gone there to set up and improve the farm.

The farm house was by the side of a forty foot deep well, with five feet of water in it. The water was just sufficient for cultivation and drinking purposes. People from the adjoining slum made free entry entered freely and collected water whenever the motor was switched on to water the crops and plantain trees.

I decided to put up a fence to prevent the slum dogs (like the movie...slum dog millionaire) people entering the farm. It was done. My grandmother was not happy about it. She told me that the poor people from the slum had been collecting water from our farm since their well dried up and it had to be repaired. The people of from the slum were facing a lot of problems since they were not even allowed to draw water from the main village well because the upper caste class people claimed that the well belonged only to them.

My grandmother used to go and help pregnant ladies of from the hamlet during their delivery. She did the job of a midwife for free. She was highly respected by the womenfolk for her selfless service.

All of a sudden she started charging for her service. She also started collecting money in all way possible. She charged for the plantain leaves and vegetables which were given away for free still until then. I did not interfere in her ways though; I was busy with my poultry.

0ne morning when she was cleaning the cattle shed she was bitten by a cobra. The village priest came and treated her with some herbal medicines. She asked me to send a telegram to my parents. The whole village was there in on my farm including the slum leaderheadman. She asked me to open the iron trunk and count the money kept in all denominations. I told her that there were was two thousand rupees. She asked me to hand over the money to the slum leader. She asked him to repair the well in the slum. He held my hands and told me that my grandmother was a noble lady. I felt ashamed for fixing building the fence.

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