Tuesdays away from the morrie

A few summers ago I bumped into a community of migrants from Gulbarga. They lived in Banashankari in Bangalore in a set of huts built precariously over a stormwater drain. All 42 families were from the same village. All worked as daily wage labourers in the construction industry.  Every morning they rose at dawn and went and stood at a designated spot with hundreds of others for the contractors foremen from all over Bangalore to turn up. If they were lucky they got hired that day.

They had left Gulbarga with nothing and in Bangalore they had even less.  It was a very hot summer and their usual sources of water had dried up. There had been a suspiscion of a chickenpox epidemic in the community that month. One child had died the previous week.  When I met them they were off to the movies. Every Tuesday all 42 families took off. They woke late, bathed, oiled their hair and then the whole lot went to the movies. Why Tuesday? Who knows? But there they were that afternoon setting off for the movies after a good lunch.


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