Sunday, December 4, 2011

Child labor --my parents could be booked! :)

I had already learnt to weave bamboo mats when I was 4 years old and I helped my elder brothers whenever it pleased me. It was fun. But when I turned 5 I had to weave one 7' x 5' mat on school-off days. It was no more fun but hard work. I was so small that after weaving a mat sliver from one end to the other of the mat, I had to make a frog-jump to come to the original position to start weaving again. About 100 such slivers had to be woven in a mat and I had to make as many leaps before I finished one. The morning  rice  gruel and the noon steamed  tapioca was consumed for the energy and I would soon become empty-stomached again. Still I was happy if I could complete the mat by the time the sound of the Chennai (then Madras)-Kochi aircraft boomed above our small house (at about  half past two). It was child Labor but my people needed the wages so badly. (Today it would be an offence). I dashed off then jocundly to the dusty courtyards in my loin clothes to play with the  emaciated neighbourhood children.  

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