Gurgaon: Tears blurring her vision, Raji Devi watched the bus carrying migrant workers to UP drive into the distance and turned to her son to say she just wants to be home and never wants to see a big city again.
She couldn’t get a seat on the bus and neither could her son Sahab Lal, who worked as a construction labourer, and the rest of the family, all waiting to return to their village in Bhadohi.
The disappointment was almost too much to handle for the elderly woman, perhaps in her 70s, who held her son’s hands and told him she won’t be back to bother him and it’s okay if he’s not there for her last rites either.
The family of seven - Raji Devi, Sahab Lal, his wife and two children, his nephew and his wife -- were among the hundreds of people waiting at the community centre in Sector 9A Gurgaon from where state transport buses were taking stranded migrants to Bulandshahr in UP.
But the seats were allotted on a first-come-first-served basis and the family missed their turn.
This is the first time she came out of her village, and it will be the last, Raji Devi vowed. The big city lights have lost their lustre, she said. As the buses started leaving, she told her son in the Hindi dialect from her region, “Betua ab hum kabhi nahi aiyai tu beshak humka kandha den bhi mat aiyai. Humka nahi dekhna shehar (Son, I won’t come back. It's okay if you are not there to shoulder my bier. I don't want to see the city again).”