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Showing posts from November, 2011

Jaani's Missing Pension: A narrative of corruption eroding financial safety nets

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When Jaani grins, her warmth is infectious and my face can’t help but mirror hers. She has five front teeth left now – ‘old age has robbed the others’ she tells me very seriously, her eyes threatening to laugh again. Widowed three years ago, she lives with her son and daughter in law and their son, a little chap named, of all things, Shaitan Singh (troublemaker)! 

“How old are you Amma?”
I have to shout so that she can hear me properly. She falls into silence and I am not perturbed by this. I have often found that against the rural landscape, where time takes on another pace, numbers like age have a way of being forgotten. As if, in a place where time is measured by the passing of seasons and the position of the sun in the sky, remembering one’s age is hardly worthwhile. She finally decides to give me an answer, “Sixty or so.” I smile and dutifully note down the answer. My aide, a regular social worker in the area shouts at her affectionately, “Dukariya (old woman) you’ve got one leg in…