Ben Gilbert

Nagamani’s story

It wasn’t easy for Nagamani and her family to move from the village of Dandumailaram to Ibrahimpatnam, a bustling town of 19,000 people. And she still can’t help comparing their new life unfavourably with the village, which she says has better air and better buildings.

Yet the benefits of the town are equally clear: before, she would work in the fields or at the brickmaker’s. Here, she is a housewife but spends only half as much time cooking and cleaning because of their gas stove, electrical appliances and easy-to-clean tiled floors. Breakfast can be cereal and milk instead of homemade rice rotis, for example.

The additional time means that Nagamani can rest in the middle of hot summer days and spend more time caring for her son, Shivakumar. The air may be better in the village, but it doesn’t outweigh the mod cons and the access to education and healthcare in town.

CC-BY: Ben Gilbert

Nagamani moved to a newly built house on the outskirts of town a few years ago. Her parents stayed behind in their village.

Her father is a carpenter and metalworker, doing jobs for his neighbours in the village. Nagamani used to work in the fields or at the brickmaker’s.

In town, she does not work. Her husband earns more here than he did in the village. When she told them she was moving, her parents couldn’t argue.

Her son has typhoid fever at the moment. She has more time to look after him here because electrical appliances and tiled floors mean less time cooking and cleaning.

Nagamani says the air was better in the village. But although she admits that “anything can happen”, she knows in her heart they won’t go back.

India - Nagamani's story slideshow