“We would work as labourers for three to four days of work a week and we get paid Rs 200/300 a day, which wasn’t sufficient. We took a loan of Rs. 100000 on our land for agriculture and my brother started a furniture shop as we are carpenters. The orders were good but we didn’t get paid on time. Here it runs on udhari, borrowing and since the customers were known to us, being from this village or nearby villages, they paid a minimum amount saying they’d pay us later, a week, month and we never got paid though they took the furniture. We were obligated. If the order of the furniture was Rs 10000 and we were paid only Rs. 5000. We had to bear the cost of raw materials. We just could not sustain and as a result, we had to close down the shop.
Then my widowed sister came back to live with us. Although she is a nurse, she gets just about Rs. 3000 a month. The school expenses of her child are about Rs. 15000 to Rs. 20000 a year. The bank loan could not be repaid and bank people kept ‘harassing’ us. The failure of the business, not much labour work, and the school along with the pressure of paying the loan was too much to handle. My father committed suicide in December 2015. Now my brother and I just do freelance carpenter work or whatever labour work I find. But I still want to start my own furniture business.” Krishna Rajendra Shilwatkar, Katol, Nagpur, Maharashtra.