Living in the city might be nothing out of the ordinary for most of us. But for people from small towns, these cities hold the promise of a brighter future and a better livelihood. Jobs are aplenty here and it is easy to work here for a few months and send back money to the folks before moving on to another place in search of another source of income. And it is this reason that spurred Nagender Sahani to come to Hyderabad from his village in Bihar – to earn a better living.
Come monsoons, this father of three comes to the city to earn a living by selling corn or bhutta as it is more popularly known. As you approach his cart near KBR Park the scent of freshly charcoal roasted corn hits your senses even as you are taken in by this man’s simple demeanour and easy smile. “I come to Hyderabad every year during the monsoons to sell roasted corn. The business is good and I am able to make enough money to send back home to my wife to pay for our children’s education and other needs,” he says, adding that he has two school-going daughters and a son, who is still too young to go to school.
A typical day for him begins at 5a.m. with him going to the corn market at Darussalam to buy his stock of corn for the day. He sets up shop near the Indo-American Cancer Hospital every day by 11.a.m. and does brisk business till 9p.m. “Business is usually good and it also depends on the quality of corn I get. On an average I am able to sell at least 200 to 250 cobs of corn each day for about Rs. 10 each,” says the vendor, who also makes it a point to clean up the area where he sets up shop. But the going is not always easy. “There are times when people bully me and forcibly take away corn and don’t even pay for it. But there is nothing I can do about that.”
So what does he do once the monsoons end? “I come to the city for a couple of months during the non-monsoon season and sell vegetables,” smiles Nagender, who has been coming to Hyderabad for the last 12 years and is now fluent in Telugu as well.