4 Generations Under One Roof in India

In "Everybody Has a Story," every two weeks someone threw a dart at a map of America. CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman then went wherever it stuck, flipped through the local phone book, and picked a name at random. He then did a story on someone at that house.

With the help of space-age technology, Steve Hartman goes global as he begins a new series - "Everybody in the World has a Story."



When CBS News and NASA launched this project -- to find 3 stories that show us who we really are as a planet -- the first question everyone had was -- where on Earth do you begin? To which astronaut Jeff Williams answered.

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His random stab at the globe sent us to India. The tip of his finger fell on a town southwest of Delhi - called Rewari.

Rewari is, by India standards, a sleepy, little town of just one million people. It's far enough off the beaten path that many who live here have never seen an American before.

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There's one gentleman here, who will never see one. Every morning 78-year-old Khushi Ram Goyal feels his way to work. Before he went blind in his mid 20's - most likely from a parasite - Khushi Ram was a grade school teacher. Now he mills wheat into flour by grinding out a living of $4 a day.

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"When I realized this problem would not end, I accepted it in a positive way," he said. "And thought, this is the way God wants me to live."

Still, being blind and going through old age in a low-wage in a country like India - I tried to imagine how difficult and lonely that would be. And boy oh boy, did I image wrong. Khushi Ram Goyal lives quite comfortably, actually.

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He shares a house with 13 family members who welcomed me like their long lost 14th.

They kept bringing me nan - their bread - and said, "eat just one more - just one more - no really, just one more."

Khushi Ram has been married to his wife, Kassmiri for 57 years.

"I never saw any problem and was happy to feed our children with whatever little we had," she said.

Kassmiri says her husband took whatever job he could to support his family. She was clearly proud and grateful for this chance to tell the world how far they've come.

I was impressed with how the family gets by.

Four generations - not only share one roof - but one bank account. Ram Avtar, a son, works as a contractor. Khushi Ram's other son runs a coffee shop. His grandson sells auto parts and everything goes into one pot.

I also couldn't help but notice how there always seemed to be someone watching grandpa. Whether he knew it or not, there was always someone just making sure -- that if he ever did need help, it would be right there.

"In another country, in another life you might be on your own," Hartman said.

"Yes, and I would feel, 'What is the use of having family?" he replied. "If I am in a bad situation and get shooed away like flies from milk, then, really, what kind of family would that be?"

In America, a lot of parents say the last thing they want is to be a burden on their children. Likewise, a lot of kids don't want to be burdened by their parents. Too bad we can't all see like the blind man.
  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.

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