“As a pushcart vendor, one often finds solace in the monotony of life. My days start early, making trips to the Koymebedu market and loading in the vegetable sacks from a known merchant. There I often follow a 50:50 strategy to picking the produce. Vegetables like potatoes and onions that are consumed throughout the year get sold soon in comparison to seasonal ones. So I eyeball a sufficient quantity of both before proceeding to my prospective locality to start the day’s sale.
And early in the morning, having to get customers to come out of their homes, means one needs to have good vocal strength. I like going the extra mile there by adding a certain ring and style to my tone, to distinguish myself from the other pushcart vendors in the area. Now it does lead to a lot of mockery amongst the kids, but I try looking at it as a source of entertainment. What’s most entertaining however, is seeing homemakers bargain over an amount as small as five rupees. It’s funny because while they do it only with small vendors like us, while being ready to pay way more in supermarkets, even if it’s the same produce that’s being overpriced.
And with thoughts like these wandering in my mind all morning, I walk before settling to sell the remaining batches in a popular corner. This has been my basic routine for the past 2 decades, and I love it despite the rigour, for it has helped me support my sister’s family. But this year though there’s has been a drastic shift in more ways than just one. You see, all of us vendors rely on daily earnings for running our lives and the Coronavirus was definitely a major threat to that. My sister has two kids who are reliant on the money I make for their education. But unfortunately, their schooling steps down to the last of our prioritities, especially when there are hungry stomachs to feed. So all of it came to a halt specifically during full lockdowns, when affording even a single meal was far far away from our reach.
What got us through luckily were my sister’s remaining jewellery that we used for the rent and food. From desperate times like those, we somehow maneuvered to manageable phases now with people being open to buy from us again. So with all this rocking my world for almost a year now, all I wish is for normalcy to resume, and minorities like us to not suffer from dire extremities.”
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