The young lanky plants wet from the drizzle look greener than usual. Mehra rubs her wet face with the anchal of her sari as she carefully pulls off the four--foot high mahogany plants. The tiny mahogany leaves on the tender branches are glistening as the mild, soft raindrops seep into them. Mehra piles them in one corner of the rectangular nursery and says that she has received an order for 50 mahogany plants in the local market. "They will sell at Tk 15 apiece, and 50 into 15 is equal to Tk 750, of which my profit will be Tk 400 to Tk 450, " she says enthusiastically. Exactly three years and seven months back Mehra had to do an altogether different kind of calculation. Deserted by her husband, Mehra with her four minor children, had to live on Tk 80 a month that she earned working as a housemaid. The straw house where Mehra and her four children huddled together in could not protect them from the rains and cold. Now, tins have replaced the flimsy straw on her roof and she has extended her home with two more rooms and Mehra no longer has to worry about getting "three meals a day" for her and her children.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005