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Pradeep Pattanayak

A story of a nonagenarian taking care of her family is rarely heard. But, Haripriya Dey, popularly known as Hara Mausi, a resident of Manikhamb area in Balasore town, is one such person who is, despite her advancing age, still taking care of her family members. 

Everything was normal till 50 years ago when her husband left for his heavenly abode, leaving her alone. The burden of the family fell on her. In order to take care of her three sons, she started working as a cook and then set up a small shop, investing whatever little she had saved. 

Now, all of her three sons are married and living with their respective families. But they still depend on Hara mausi. While her third son is a kidney patient, second son works as a security guard and the third one runs a flower shop. Since their earnings are always falling short to meet the family expenses, they always depend on her earnings. 

“I don’t want to depend on others. So long as I can do my work myself, I will do,” says Hara mausi, displaying a sense of pride. 

“After the death of my husband, I accepted the job of cooking at some nearby houses. Then I started my own shop. It has been 38 years since I started the shop,” adds feisty Hara mausi.  

At her age, people wish to bask in the comfort of their families, playing with grand children. But, in case of Hara mausi, it seems that fate is not fortunate enough. 

As if running the family at this advancing age was not enough, she has not received any government help as yet. She has long been waiting for a government house under any existing scheme. 

As the family size has increased, she has been forced out of it and now living under a polythene sheet. During the election time, OTV had shown her plight, and the next morning, leaders made a beeline at her house, heaping her with assurances. 

Though the construction work of a house for her started later, it is still half constructed. The roof of the house is yet to be laid due to which she is experiencing a lot of problems, especially in this rainy season. 

Local residents are critical of the system for a nonagenarian still waiting for a house. They urged the local MLA Swarup Das to take steps for early completion of the house.

When contacted, MLA Das said, “Hara mausi is a source of inspiration for all mothers. She couldn’t get a house under Awas yojana as her land size is very small. I helped on my personal level and the house is under construction. It will be completed soon.”

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