I am 64-years-old and have been selling bananas for the last 50 years. Life was good when I was a boy. My father was a fruit merchant. In those days life was very simple. We made enough money and lived comfortably. I was just not interested in studies. I barely completed class four when I dropped out of school.
Then I had felt I could make more money in business. Off I went experimenting. I worked with my father, and later put up a vegetable stall selling just onions and garlic. But business went downhill. Then I tried my luck with the paan beeda business. It didn’t work. By then, I had spent all my youthful years and realised my folly. But one cannot get back time that is lost. Then I started with the business of selling just bananas.
It’s a no risk job. With marriage you need a steady income, and I have two kids as well. To provide for them is a lot of hard work. I start my day by 8 in the morning, and after dropping my kids to school, I rush to the sabzi mandi (fruit market) in Coles Park where some of us stock our products. I load my push cart and walk to Infantry Road, where for years now, I have stood in the same corner selling bananas. I am there till 6 p.m. after which I start doing my rounds. I reach the Indian Express bus stop. After 8 p.m. I go around selling through Russel market and Shivajinagar. It’s midnight by the time my day ends. I walk back to the mandi, deposit my cart and later go home. Depending on the sales of the day, I either board a private bus or walk back home. Come what may, I want my children to finish their education and lead a better life. I have had enough of life on the footpath and do not want my children to experience it. The very thought sends chills down my spine.
(I Am is a weekly column on men and women, who make Bangalore what it is. )