Let's get down to business
Trip Start Aug 15, 2012
22Trip End Jan 10, 2013
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There are millions of children in India aged between 6 and 14 that do not go to school, despite laws since 2010 that allow them to demand free primary school education! We saw them doing all kinds of jobs:
- Tea service - carting tea around to shops and offices to save people going out to get one.
- Construction sites - carting things around, sifting dirt to make cement.
- Farms - working in the fields.
- Begging - it obviously works for them for them to keep doing it.
- Hawkers - they are in all of the big tourist spots and our guide told us parent especially send their children to sell items because tourists take pity on them.
Education is big business in India and advertising for colleges was everywhere in most of the cities we went to
With over 1.2 BILLION people you'd expect there was going to be a lot of trucks carting around all manor of things to feed, clothe and entertain the Indians but the amount of truckstops to service these guys (definitely no ladies) is enormous. Sometimes we would drive for 5 minutes or more with both sides of the roads lined with them. Dhaba they are called and boy are they beautiful, the bright and blingy colours you associate with Indian restaurants all over the world.
These stops are where the drivers stop to eat, sleep and shower and most are open 24 hours a day. Some of them look like they have 50-100 chairs in the dining area, all outside under tarps/ceilings. The beds, also under some kind of cover but outside are what I'd call a wide army cot, no pillows or anything else to comfort them
The shower/bath/pool is a square cement structure about mid thigh to waist height, probably 4-5 meters square. The guys strip down to their undies and stand next to the bath/pool, soap themselves up and use the water to wash away the soap. I lost count of the amount of truckies I saw having a wash by the side of the road. I also saw the same kind of bathing going on near the farms but with a big tap coming out of the ground.
Of course along with the truckstops were the mechanics in makeshift boxes for rooms. The oil mostly just seeps on to the ground. No oil trays to collect it.
As a new construction site starts up small armies of men and their families pack up their shacks, whatever they are made of:
and then move to the new construction site.
It is really hard work too, so many things they do seem so manual. No cement mixers here, I watched it being done with a shovel.
We've all seen the shanty towns in Mumbai on the TV but smaller versions of these are all over the cities. These people who live and work like this are the lowest caste or "stupid peoples" as our driver called them. You can't help but feel immense empathy for these people who are working so hard to make a living.
Women along with children work at these sites too. The more menial stuff (of course) but you see lots of them wearing their beautiful and colourful Salwar Kameez (not the sari, the pants and long shirt). Actually, in the fields and on construction sites were really the only places we saw women working. Some of the big hotels had them but everywhere else it was all men
We were fortunate enough to only visit a post office once and might avoid it altogether next time we are in India. It took 40 minutes to send two parcels and a letter. The line up looked liked a family all trying to get in on the action but no, it was the line up. Our friendly guide disgusted at our attempt to line up took over and fought his way in on our behalf.
Elephants, camels, donkeys and others
There are lots of animals that work, they cart both humans and goods alike around the place.
Barbers are everywhere, mostly under trees with the mirror tied to the back of the trees and a chair on stilts. Ladies go to a salon in a small shop but curtains line the windows to protect their modesty.
I think I'll save my hair cut for the UK...