The Telegraph
Monday , May 12 , 2014
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Decade decoder
Did life change?

Twelve years ago, people knew Krishna Das, as a motor mechanic who owned an automobile repairing workshop in Gayeshpur near Kalyani.

In 2008, he took a bank loan of Rs 16 lakh and invested his personal savings to set up a workshop on the NH34-Kalyani link road in Shoguna. Now his workshop has become an authorised Maruti service station.

Krishna's father was a farmer who owned agricultural land and wanted Krishna to join him. But Krishna quit studies after Class X and joined a local garage as a trainee.

He still lives in a part of his paternal house that has three rooms with

Name: Krishna Das.
Age: 37
Education: Class X
Place: Shoguna is in the Bongaon Lok Sabha seat, 45km from Calcutta

Do you earn more or less, compared with 2004?

I earn more than what I used to in 2004. Back then, I was the only mechanic in my workshop assisted by one youth; my net take- home money was around Rs 10,000 a month. But now, I own a modernised workshop with an area of over 2000sqft.

Do you save more or less compared with 2004?

In 2004, I used to save at least Rs 2,000 a month. After opening the workshop, I earn a lot but have failed to make planned savings.

What things does your house now have that it did not have in 2004?

A kitchen chimney.

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

In 2004, I used to travel on my motorbike or by public buses. Now, I have a car.

Have you travelled abroad? When was the first time?

I have never gone abroad.

Do you own a car? Model? Did you own one in 2004? Model?

In 2004, I had no car. Now, I have a Maruti Alto LXI.

Where do you buy your grocery from, malls or the corner store? Were there any malls/ stores like Spencer in 2004?

I buy groceries from More. In 2004, there was no such facility in Kalyani or its adjacent areas. I then used to purchase grocery from Gayeshpur market.

Do you shop round the year or only before Puja, Diwali etc? Has this changed over the years?

My shopping is largely need-based. However, I shop more during festivals.

Do you own an AC? Did you own one in 2004?


Do your children go to school? In your family, did children go to school earlier? If itís a govt school, then has there been any change in standards/ infrastructure?

Yes. My elder son studies in a government-affiliated school and my younger one in a private school. The infrastructure of the schools has changed a lot over the years.

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

There has been a revolution in home culinary. The credit largely goes to kitchen shows on TV. Ready mixes are available in shopping malls. Ten years ago, I could only dream of such things.

Have you got an Aadhaar card? Why? How does it help?

A few months ago, I got an Aadhaar card. I was compelled to enrol for the card after government officials visited my house several times.

Do you encounter more corruption or less in your daily life?

I feel corruption has increased. The main problem I face is extortion by political parties.

What was the last movie you have seen and when?

The last movie I saw with my family was nearly a year ago in Kalyaniís Sangam theatre. It was Royal Bengal Rahasya.

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

Last month, at a Chinese restaurant in Kalyani.

Do you have a cellphone? How old is it? Did you have one before you bought the current one?

I have been using cellphones for the past 15 years.

What do you do with the cellphone? Do you use it most to converse or do you listen to music? Do you see movies on the phone?

I mainly use it for business purpose. I don't listen to music or watch movies on it.

Do you go on holidays/ pilgrimages?

I have no scope to enjoy a holiday as my workshop remains open 24/7. However, I often visit the Kali temple in Tarapith and ISKCON temple in Mayapur.

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

I find it tough to satisfy family needs particularly towards the end of month. I have to fall back on whatever savings I have.

Do you have more or less pairs of clothes compared with 2004?

More. However, I donít get time to wear them as most of the time, I am in uniform.

Describe the biggest changes in your life since 2004.

The Maruti service station.

What is your biggest regret in the past 10 years?

My failure to buy a flat is probably my only regret in the past 10 years.

What is your biggest achievement in the past 10 years?

The Maruti service station.

Are you happier or sadder now?

I am definitely happier.