'What impact will the Budget have on one who sells chana?'
Ramesh has been selling roasted chana (chickpeas) outside Horniman Circle, a Mumbai landmark that's located a stone's throw away from the imposing facade of the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Sadly, people like Ramesh have no stake in one of the country's biggest extravaganzas -- the Union Budget -- that is lapped up by the country's middle class, elite and the media with much fanfare.
Ask him about the Budget and its impact on people like him and he smiles at you as if you are talking Greek or Latin. He is representative of a vast swathe of India's poor, whose lives the powers-that-be feign to improve by an exercise like the Budget.
"I don't know much about the Budget exercise," Ramesh says, even as Bhai Shingare who emerges from Horniman Circle garden interjects, "What impact will the Budget have on someone who sells chana?"
Bhai says he too is an ordinary Indian; he works as a driver in a private firm. When told that Ramesh can avail of
microfinance from a host of people who offer small loans to people like him, Bhai speaks with a hopelessness that could only come from someone like him.
"Nobody gives loans to people like him," he argues.
"The Budget does not benefit poor people like us in any way. It only benefits the elite," he says.
"People like Sharad Pawar, our Saheb benefit from an exercise like the Budget," he says.
Image: 'What impact will the Budget have on someone who sells chana?'