How To Have Chicken Curry in Peace: Parayi

Guest post by PARAYI

The Indian government’s planning commission has just told the Supreme court that about 31 rupees a day [slightly more than half a dollar] is enough for a family to live on. The news papers had the details of a diet which can be had on that money.  Few grams of rice+ fewer grams of vegetable + no fruit + no fuel etc etc….

Two succulent chicken pieces were floating in a rich gravy in my plate while I flipped through the news paper. Suddenly, there was a bout of indigestion. Well, occasionally the meat on my plate has the bad habit of turning into a living being with an accusing stare. Generally, I remind the being about the soul of plants and coax it back into its original form.

This time the gravy and the pieces which were floating around in it had cost me about three times more than what a non-poor Indian family can live on in a day. And, the eatery was a street side one with no frills to boast of.

The gravy was intact. But, drenched in oil and curry powder, four pair of eyes were giving out accusing stares. Two adults, two children – the perfect family. I told them that they had a better chance if they sat on the Planning Commission’s dinner plates. Here I am, after a hard day of reasonable mental labour trying to have a decent meal. Some one needs to sell an insurance policy for mental peace in this country.

(Parayi is an apolitical reptile who crawls through the nooks and corners of space.)

(Kafila Readers might also consider reading Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal (For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from being a Burden to their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to the Public), written in 1729.

Parayi is a worthy successor to the great satirist, Jonathan Swift.)

8 thoughts on “How To Have Chicken Curry in Peace: Parayi”

  1. GOSH!! Rs 31 a day for a family?Then why not start with the planning commission members consuming this meal for a month? And indeed, Parayi is a great satirist.A very well written parody!


  2. It’s 31 rupees per head per day actually. Which, of course, makes it all better. I mean, a family of four will have 124 rupees and you could party like it’s 2004-05 (base year taken by Tendulkar committee for poverty estimate) with that sort of money.
    Really happy that Kafila has brought up this topic. However I want to point out several things. Around 75% of the poor live in rural areas. The scoundrels have it good there because you know how the prices are lower there right. So we make sure they don’t enjoy too much by bringing the poverty line in rural areas down to Rs. 25.
    Some of the newspapers making the calculation on what kind of food can be had on that kind of money assumed all the money would be spent for food. Which is problematic. A lot of people living BPL don’t have access to water supply. They have to buy it from private dealers. It costs anywhere between 5-15 rupees per pot in Bangalore. a few pots and you’ve spent one persons income right there.


  3. This is my calculation:

    For A family of 5 living in one room in Hyderabad say paying only Rs. 1000/- p.m. rent:

    Particulars Amount
    Rs = Ps
    Rent 1000 = 00
    For Rice 20 Kgs. For ration rice at Rs. 2/- per Kg. 40 = 00
    For Rice 40 Kgs. Market rice at Rs. 25 per Kg. 1000 = 00
    Dal say only 2 Kgs. 160 = 00
    Oil say only 2 Kgs. 160 = 00
    Vegetables say only ½ kg per day i.e. 15 Kgs at only Rs. 20/- Kg. 300 = 00
    Ration Wheat for rotis occasionally 5 Kgs. At Rs. 12/- per Kg. 60 = 00
    Soaps and fuel 300 = 00
    RTC Bus charges calculating ordinary bus pass for 2 members only 1000 = 00
    Mutton or chicken once a week at Rs. 150/- per Kilo 4 kilos 600 = 00
    Miscellaneous (including occasional milk for tea) 1000 = 00
    Total 5620 = 00
    Per person per month 1124 = 00
    Per person per day 37 = 50

    It costs minimum Rs. 37 = 50 Ps at bare minimum and it can escalate as per increase in rent (say Rs. 2000/-) and other miscellaneous charges (say another Rs. 1000/-) – shorn of any other normal expenses of middle class even. In that eventuality it will amount apptly. to some Rs. 8000/- per family of 5 and that means Rs. 53-54 per day per person. So fixation of Rs. 60/- per person as BPL line in metro cities, Rs. 50/- in towns and Rs. 40/- in rural areas would be reasonable.


  4. ….wonder what would happen if those at the helm of affairs are asked to spend one day, just one day of ther lives on 31 rupees!


    1. Oh…nothing. They’ll have a sumptuous meal at the Parliament canteen for 10 bucks and donate the other 21 to a “worthy cause”, earning a photo-op in the process.


  5. This figure will certainly put Indians in the list of Developed nations which they are aspiring for a long time now. Novel way of removing “BPL” tag from millions of unfortunate Indians……….


  6. The manner in which money is being created, it is hard to keep inflation in check. Whatever we do, we don’t want to tie everything to the monetary system, the basis of which is not well understood. Poverty should be defined by lack of access to food. It should be alleviated by systems like PDS, that provide things in kind. Cash transfers either using Aadhar or otherwise should not be allowed.


  7. At least get your facts right Parayi before soaring to the heights of metaphor and irony. But hey since when does a multiple of five impede the commentariat?


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