My parents used to work as a farm laborer until I was sixteen. They worked their way out and started cultivating land on contract. Every year we rent 2-3 acres, plant the seasonal crops along with the fodder for cattle. Even being a normal laborer, my father took a special care of our education, he never asked us to join him in the fields or the odd jobs he did. I studied till the Tenth grade. But instead of trying for a job I started working with a tailor in Lehragaga, I worked there for three and a half years without a stipend. It used to be like that earlier, a kind of internship. I can’t imagine someone doing that today, they want money before even stepping into the shop.
I’ve been renting this shop for 22 years and all this time I’ve used my bicycle to commute from home. I make enough to look after my family. Earlier, I used to stitch garments for both gentlemen and ladies but nowadays so many housewives have started stitching at home. So, all the women get their clothes done by those amateur tailors. I have three kids, two boys, and a girl. Both of the boys are almost done with the secondary school, and daughter has just finished her 10th grade. I always tell them that all I can do is spend money on getting them a good school, the rest is on them. If they want to make something of their life, they’ll have to work for it. Apart from me my two brothers also contribute to the family finances and my parents still work on the land we rent.
I’m a firm follower of the communist ideology. I have looked up to Comrade Bhagwan Singh Ankhi all my life, these people have been my source of light and an inspiration to live a hardworking and disciplined life.
Text and Photographs: Gurdeep Dhaliwal
Punjabi Translation: Satdeep Gill