For the past eight years, I have been selling soups and juice on my scooter. Every day I buy fruits from the Yaanaikkal wholesale market and make juice out of them. I sell juice twice a day – morning and evening. My wife Kavitha helps me peel and crush the fruit pieces in the mixer. In the summer, I stick to juice – lemon, orange, watermelon, mango, grapes and guava – depending on the availability in the market and the seasons. I don’t mix any artificial essence or flavouring agents, except sugar syrup, which we make at home. I make nearly 15 litres of juice everyday and sell a glass for Rs. 15. In peak summer months, I increase the quantity by five litres. In winters, I sell hot soup. I make them out of mushroom, cauliflower and karuvepillai.
I usually go around Meenakshi Bazaar, Naidu Sandhu, Town Hall Road, Kaakathoppu, West Masi Steet and Nethaji Road. Over the years, I have built up a regular set of clientele. Both shopkeepers and customers wait for me in the evenings. I earn around Rs. 900. But, since the prices of fruits have gone up, my take home is considerably lesser than before. I have two daughters studying in primary school.
When I came to Madurai a decade ago from a village nearby, I wound run errands to support myself. Now I have a family to feed along with all the others I feed with my juice and soup. Some of my customers have become friends and we maintain a monthly account. They pay me at the end of the month and I often give them a discount.
(A fortnightly column on men and women who make Madurai what it is)