I met Parvathi at her house outside of Trichy, Tamil Nadu. After driving through seemingly endless fields of rice and bananas, we turned off of the only paved road in sight onto a dirt path. Parvathi’s house was less than 100 meters from the dirt road, and there was another, larger building beside it in the process of being constructed. When I arrived, Parvathi walked out of her house with her infant son in her arms. Parvathi also has two young daughters, who along with her husband make up the five members of their household.
Parvathi’s husband owns nearby agricultural land and sells the rice that he cultivates from his fields. He must have had a big harvest right before I visited, because there were bags of rice stacked all the way to the ceiling on the front porch. She told me that the building that was under construction was a new warehouse to store rice. Unfamiliar with the different variations of rice, I asked her husband to explain the differences between the types of rice. For the next 15 minutes he went in and out of the house, bringing me handfuls of differently shaped and colored rice.
Two different strains of rice
The subject of the conversation moved to Parvathi’s loan. She said that she used to get water from a street tap, which is located on the corner of her road and the main road. About 40 families are assigned to the street tap, although Parvathi said that most have household water connections. She usually used to get enough water to meet her family’s needs, though walking to the tap and back to carry the water took precious time out of her day. Occasionally she would not be able to get enough water, and she would get water out of a well located elsewhere on her family’s property. Since installing her water connection, which cost Rs.1,000, she now has access to water directly next to her water tank. She pays Rs.365 a year for the water supply, a mere one rupee per day. Parvathi was very content with her new connection, which has dual spouts to fill up water vessels as well as her concrete water tank. She is now looking beyond her water troubles, excited about her husband’s growing rice business.
Parvathi's goat stable
Parvathi next to her new water connection