A day in the life of Laxmi

I am Laxmi, a dairy farmer from India (Laxmi takes care of 4 cows and 5 family members) . I wake up at 4 AM and prepare food for my cows Gayatri, Savitri, Jamuna and Saraswati. The cows are fed by me before I cook food for my family. I milk my cows and keep some milk for my family and pour rest of the milk for the cooperative society of my village. This is the time to wake up my husband and send him to pour milk at the village milk collection center. I clean up the cow shed area before beginning my daily chores of house cleaning.

Its time for me to request my old father in law to take the cows to the pasture lands. All four of my beloved cows then go for a day out to enjoy grazing and resting. Now its time for me to pack lunch for my kids and husband. I have to drop my young daughter to the convent preschool in the village only. The elder kids have to go to their school which is 2 villages away. They go by school tempo.

Saraswati’s smile

Now I do my house chores and clear the mess which other family members have created while going to their respective work. It is 11 AM now and I get my first free moment of the day. Its time to look at Saraswati who has fallen sick last week.

The village doctor saheb has given some medicines but now I am treating her with some local herbs and her condition is improving. I have asked my husband to call a real doctor from the tehsil but he is not getting time to reach out to the doctor.

I know he will not call the real doctor because it cost money. My poor Saraswati has mooed looking at me after 10 days. I could see a smile on her face now. I prepare ointment for Saraswati and apply to her. Saraswati’s mother came along with me while she was a calf at the time of my marriage.

Now I am cleaning the cow shed area and collecting dung from the floor. I shall be making cow dung cake today. I couldn’t find time to do so in last two days. It is getting dried but I am at my best while mixing the old dung with fresh one to get the right balance. I am waiting for the electrical power to resume as I have to chaff cut the fodder for the evening. Its time to bring my young daughter from her play school. Other kids must also be reaching soon.

Activity is signature of life

Its time for my beloved cows to come back home. I have prepared their housing area and cleaned the bucket for milking too. The whole activity of milking , feeding and cooking repeats once more time. In the evening my father in law takes the milk to the collection center because my husband reaches back late. He is a good person but is in habit of drinking daily while returning back from his office. Some of the women from the village have tried to close the wine shop in the village but the shop is owned by the Pradhan himself. Nobody can close that.

I have big dreams for my kids and I always ask god for well being of my family and my cows equally. There have been some programs in the village where they talk about self help group , woman empowerment, gender equality and entrepreneurship. I do not understand anything of these. Once there was a big cooperative which came to our house and asked to enrol me as a member of the society. However none of their primary conditions of my land holding or bank accounts were in place.

The cooperative told my husband that the money could go to my account only. The very next day my husband opened up a bank account by getting my thumb impression on some papers. I am educated till 5th class but later my parents didn’t send me to high school which was away from our village. My brothers went to those schools but me and my two other sisters were not allowed to go.

First impression is the last impression

The thumb impression which I made was my last impression as after that my husband never took me to the bank. He told me that it was joint account and I don’t need to go to the bank as my husband will do the needful. I never saw money in my hand. I always have to ask for money from my husband. He is very good and never say no. But he gives money as per his discretion and not as per my demand. It is 10 PM and everyone at home is asleep. My kitchen chores will still take half an hour more. My mother taught me to not to leave any utensil uncleaned at night. It is too dark today as I keep my Amavas fast today. Our family pandit told me that keeping fast on Amavas brings prosperity in house.

This was one page from the diary of Laxmi the dairy farmer.

Have you understood the need of gender based financial inclusion for women dairy farmers of India ?

Just think about the power of putting cash in the hands of Laxmi.

Source : A blog by Kuldeep Sharma Chief editor dairynews7x7