I had been wanting to find out what the sweepers who diligently clean out every piece of garbage and trash from the colony roads get paid. I see them everyday working really hard and doing that extra bit to keep the place clean. Yesterday I was parking my car after my walk when this elderly lady stopped me, swept out that place where I was to park and then asked me to park. Far cry from the days when no one gave a damn about the roads, forget little bits of paper lying about.
I gave her some chai money to keep her motivated and also because I had been meaning to for a while now, having noticed the way she cleans up the road. I asked her how long they work at the roads. She said she and her team of some six women work this colony from 6 in the morning till 2 in the afternoon. They get paid Rs. 4000 by the contractor for that. 'PF and ESI are covered,' she said speaking with great comfort about these two words that many would have, some years ago. But they don't pay on days we don't come sir, she added with a smile and went back to work.
I like the way they talk so easily, or even the way they receive the chai money. Almost as if they were waiting for it. None of that 'no sir, no sir, why sir, thank you sir,' business. But they do a great job, in all kinds of weather. And once in a while we see the familiar sight of their good-for-nothing husbands who look like they have already had a couple early in the morning, land up and fight with them for money. Tough life.