Rajammal's neighbourhood mule is older than her toilet | Milaap
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Rajammal's neighbourhood mule is older than her toilet

Written by Akshay Balan Publish date 25-Oct-2017

The only thing that stands between Rajammal's house and me is a rather large, brown horse. As someone who is used to dogs on the streets, cows even, but not horses, for a moment I couldn't figure out how to deal with this. Do I just walk past it? Or do I stand still and wait for it to walk past it? Dealing with street horses is definitely not my thing, I figured. I suppose I'm lucky Rajammal's husband spotted me standing awkwardly for what seemed like an eternity. "Why is there a horse in your street?" I ask, reasonably confused. Rajammal looked at me as if considering how foolish I am. "It's not a horse," she said slowly. "It's a mule." Okay, quite foolish of me. "Haven't you ever seen a mule before?" asked Rajammal's daughter, a young woman whom I learned is completing her engineering degree this year. Rajammal chuckled and said, "Even if he has, he wouldn't know, would he?" I laughed the loudest then. Rajammal went on to explain, "Unlike horses, mules are used for carrying goods. They can walk a long distance without being tired." I nodded and asked, "Whom does it belong to? And what does it carry?" The answer must have been obvious, for Rajammal's expression said. I looked as oblivious as ever. "It's the mule used in this neighbor. Belongs to one of the neighbors, but all of us feed it and use it. Well, it carries our crops, obviously. We grow Areca nuts. We can't always afford minivans to transport to the market." I contested that. "But," I said "Wouldn't it be more efficient to use a vehicle? This would take more time wouldn't it?" Rajammal smiled. "We are in no rush, though, are we? The market will be there no matter when we get there. We have been using a mule as far as I can remember. Some things don't change. Of course, we aren't stuck in the past." Rajammal looked around, referring to her home It's no different to any house these days--a television, ceiling fans, electric lights and all of that. "Lifestyle doesn't have to change completely for it to be better," Rajammal reflected. "Of course, some things have to change. Like when a few months ago when we built a toilet in our home with a loan. It was not an option anymore. It just became a necessary part of our lifestyle. And maybe someday, we'll stop using the mule." They are thankful to their lenders.

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