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DECADE DECODER DID LIFE CHANGe

Do you earn more or less compared to 2004?

Less, but not by much. In 2004, on an average, I used to earn somewhere around Rs 70,000 a month. Now, my income is around Rs 50,000 per month

Do you save more or less compared to 2004?

The savings has gone down a little. Ten years back, I saved up to Rs 50,000 every month, while now I save something between Rs 30,000 and Rs 35,000 a month

What things does your house have now that it didnít have in 2004?

I have not bought any new electronic items for the home apart from the usual household goods. We have had the television and refrigerator since 2004

How did you travel then and how do you travel now?

We have always travelled by train if we go somewhere. So far as the daily conveyance is concerned, in 2004, I had a bicycle. A few years later I bought a bike. Five years ago, I changed it for another

Have you travelled abroad?

Never

Do you own a car?

No, we never bought one

Where do you buy grocery from?

From the local wholesale market. We have not been to any supermarket to buy grocery. In 2004, I had never heard about supermarkets like Spencerís or Big Bazaar

Do you shop all year round or only during festivals?

We shop during festivals like Holi, Diwali and Chhath. The shopping trend has not changed over the years. Sometimes, my son or I buy some stuff like clothes or toys for the children

Do you have an air-conditioner?

No

Has MGNREGA made a difference in your life?

No, but I have heard people getting jobs in the rural areas because of the scheme

Do your children go to school?

Yes, they have completed their education. While I studied in a government school, I ensured that my son and daughters went to a private school. My granddaughter goes to a private school too

Is there any difference between the food you can afford now and what you could 10 years back?

Vegetables were fresher and less costly in 2004. There were also a lot of fresh fruits. The fascination to go to restaurants was also less

When was the last time you ate outside with your family?

On June 1 last year, we went to Hotel Samrat to celebrate our anniversary

Have you got Aadhaar card?

Not yet

Do you encounter corruption more or less

I have not faced it, but it wonít be wrong to say that it has increased. Each day, we hear cases of corruption. At times, the common man encourages it. They are better off giving money to agents rather than getting a driving licence or a voter card through the proper channels. However, they do so because they know the system is flawed. My son has had to give money to traffic constables to avoid harassment regarding the bikeís papers

What was the last movie you have seen and when?

I donít remember going for a film in years. Sometimes, I do enjoy the ones shown on the television. I donít remember the name of the last one though

Do you have a cell phone?

Yes, I do. I bought a Nokia handset in 2008 ó I donít know the model. I had a phone before that too which I had bought in 2000. I think it was a Nokia too

What do you do with your cellphone?

I use it only for talking to people

Do you go on holidays/pilgrimages?

We are businessmen and donít have any off day. Everyday is a working day and everyday is a Sunday. Mostly, we go to our village in Khusrupur once in six months

Do you run out of money to buy food towards the end of the month?

No, we are businessmen and have enough money at the end of a month

Describe the biggest changes in your life since 2004?

A decade ago, life was more free and easy. There was more space to move around and there was fresh air. Life, for me, has been the same. Only things around me have changed. Patna has become more and more crowded

What is your biggest regret in the past 10 years?

I donít have any ó life has been kind to me

What is your biggest achievement in the past 10 years?

That I have not been answerable to anyone. I have carried off my duties well and completed all my responsibilities

Are you happier or sadder now? Why?

I am happy because I have led a disciplined life, been able to deliver and complete my familyís responsibilities

Joy Sengupta