This March the hut that I had made for Mangal, my farm caretaker, and his newlywed wife a year back gave away. It became unlivable. I had spent around Rs 7000 to erect the hut, made of bamboo walls and cement sheet roof. Mangal and Sanjana preferred to live in the hut though they had a house in the neighbouring village because he wanted to be away from the daily quarrels his brothers and their wife indulged in. He is member of a big family—six brothers and four sisters.
Unknown to us white ants had weakened the supporting beams–six of them–and the hut’s rear side had come down some time in December. Ever since Mangal had moved in I had asked him to deal with the white but he had postponed attending it. By February he and wife had vacated it. By March the hut had collapsed and we could salvage only three cement sheets.
Enter Daulat, the fabricator. He took over a month to put up the structure and ultimately the new hut, situated at a higher point on the plot awarding a good view, made of stainless steel poles, cement sheet roof and bamboo walls is ready. The floor, of this hut too continues to be made of earth and dung as the earlier hut. The walls have to be plastered with mud and dung too. Never knew that I would end up spending around Rs 25,000 on the hut. Daulat assures me that the new hut is durable and is likely to last at least for five years. We are waiting for the monsoon to be over when Mangal and his wife will move into it.