On some days, I earn around Rs.150-200. Sometimes, there’s no business at all. Then I just sit here and watch the world go by until it is time to go home
It’s just been a few months since I set up my mobile stall here; before this I was selling agarbatti (incense sticks) and attar (fragrant essential oil used in perfumes). I also offer lucky birthstones and sunglasses for two-wheeler users.
Customers can both buy watches and get them repaired by me.
Usually it’s nothing more than a battery change. But watches stop working when they get wet. The water cuts off the battery wire within and also rusts the metallic buttons.
Most of the parts are electronic these days, so they can be replaced piecemeal without damaging the entire watch.
It takes me around 20-30 minutes to repair a watch. And there are days when a watch refuses to work despite all the time I spend on it – I put it away and return to it after a break.
I usually charge Rs. 10 or 20 for watch-repair. Of late I have taken to selling spectacle frames as well.
Shops charge in the hundreds of rupees for a single frame – I buy cheap frames and used ones as well, and sell them for around Rs.20-30 to people who cannot afford the pricey ones.
I push my cart from home, around 2 kilometres away and reach here (Bharatidasan Salai) by 10 a.m.
The traffic policemen often complain about vendors like us being in the way – but as you can see, I’m just minding my own business without troubling anyone.
There’s no breakfast, just a cup of tea at home. For lunch, I usually have a serving of ‘kool’ (porridge) from the stall nearby. It keeps me full until sunset, when I pack up my cart and push it back home in time for dinner. It’s good exercise for me.
On some days, I earn around Rs.150-200. Sometimes, there’s no business at all. Then I just sit here and watch the world go by until it is time to go home. I have six grown-up children, three sons and three daughters.
Most of the watch spares are easily available in Singarathope – you have to ask for ‘China movement’. I’ve spent roughly Rs. 6000 on my stock; I do hope I’ll be able to earn a profit soon.
I’ve dabbled with many other jobs and businesses before – I used to own a grocery store once, but had to close it down because I couldn’t manage it alone.
It’s important to keep earning something, no matter how old you are.