“As boat riders, the only thing that keeps us going day after day, are the smiles on our customers’ faces. I hail from Pichavaram, an area popularly known for its spellbinding flora. A rather quiet village otherwise, the mangrove forests here have become the main attraction, thus aiding the livelihoods of many locals too, in the process!
Most of us today cater to the plethora of tourists who come in from all over the country while others are active in fishing. Work happens all 7 days a week, during the brightly lit hours and is known to get more and more hectic around the holiday season!
But with growing crowds, there’s also a factor of an increase in competition that comes into play. So regardless of working tirelessly for over 15 years now, I still have to live from wage to wage. It was even worse last year with the lockdowns when all of us suddenly had no work for months together! It pushed me to a state where I had to mortgage my wife’s remaining wedding jewellery to sail through before slowly starting to trade vegetables as an alternative.
But again, it’s these testing phases that often remind one of the things they should, in fact, be grateful for. Seeing the increase in the elderly population in our area, I was particularly thankful that I had an entire family, in the best of health to support me through all the physical toil that comes with vegetable selling! 2020 might not have been anywhere close to easy, but it was yet another reminder of the age-old saying ‘tough times don’t last, but tough people do!”