27 January, 2021

Wing It With The Butterflies

Liberalisation’s grandchildren have a rare self-assurance

Illustration by Sorit
Wing It With The Butterflies

Thiruchitrambalam Koot Road is the kind of place that would have once been called a farming town. And D. Ayyanar is the kind of young man who, a generation ago, could only have imagined himself as a farmer. He sits by the side of the road on a Thursday afternoon, selling pumpkins amidst the din and dust of commerce. The streets of this busy Tamil Nadu town, at the intersection of several village roads and National Highway 66, are lined with cellphone stores, jewellery showrooms and computer training centres. The vegetable market, once crowded and expansive, has been reduced to a few sparsely stocked stalls. It’s nearly impossible to find traces of the town’s agricultural past.

Ayyanar, age 18, is from a neighbouring village. His father is a farmer, and his grandfather was, too. As a child, he often worked the family’s one-acre plot with his parents. But now, he tells me, he has no intention of going into farming. He’s studying engineering. He plans to move to the city, go to college, and ultimately start his own...



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