Where do you come from?
I belong to a small village called Khliehriat in Meghalaya, where my three children live with my parents. I had to leave my family behind when I came to work in Delhi.
Why did you come to Delhi?
I used to work in a coal manufacturing factory in Meghalaya. The coal business has become limited there now. A couple of years back, the factory I worked in shut down.
Many of us lost our jobs, so when I was offered work here, I had to take it. Even today, there are many people who cannot afford one square meal back home.
When did you move to Delhi and what was your first impression of this city?
I moved here a year back. When I first came to Delhi, the pace of life made me anxious but gradually, I got used to it. This city is huge and I am still learning to cope.
What are the difficulties you experience living here?
I belong to a small community where everyone knows everyone. On the contrary, Delhi is not a place where one can make many friends. I do not feel very free in the city. My movement is limited, partly due to the fact that I work a full-time job.
Do you find a lot of difference between people here and in your native place?
In my experience, there’s not much of a difference. Since I work in a confined space, I have not had to interact with a lot of people. The people I have met are like me, they are working to make a life for their children.
What keeps you motivated to continue working here?
I want to give my children a better education. I am working for them. Living away from my family is tough and I miss them, but I have to work here because I earn better. I am willing to work for as long as I have to, but I want to return home someday.
Is there anything about this city that you do not like?
I dislike the weather! (laughs) Meghalaya is a pleasant place. Also, there are times when I feel like an outsider, particularly due to the difference in the language.
Tell us about some memorable experience.
I have a funny one! It was the day when a monkey entered the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and ate a cucumber!
City Seekers: A series on migrants in urban India.