Habib Jamal of Kasab Galli in Bidar crawls to the door to greet visitors. She can hardly walk as illness has robbed her of all the strength in her legs.
Widowed at the age of 20, she worked as a domestic help for over 25 years to raise her three children. She is happy to hear that the government is launching the scheme to provide Re. 1 per kg. “It would save me Rs. 570 a month. We could buy oil or spices with that money,” she said.
However, she would like some jowar and wheat as well, which is her staple diet. “When we were young, we would eat rice only on 10 or 12 days in a year. That was when my mother cooked biryani for guests, during festivals or when someone was sick at home. But now, rice is all that we eat. We have almost forgotten jowar and wheat,” she said, indicating how the food distribution system had altered her food habit over the years.
They would have to shell out between Rs. 700 to Rs. 800 for foodgrains if they were to continue the staple of wheat or jowar, which cost Rs. 20 to Rs. 30 per kg.
Hafizabi Rehman, who works as a labourer, adds that rice saves them the additional expense of grinding too. “Rice can be used directly. That is another reason why we have got used to cooking rice,” she said. “ Garibi badi sakht cheez hai, ’’ (poverty is a hard thing), says Goreebi Dastagir. When you are poor, you accept what comes your way.”