Eating a full course vegetarian meal happens only at wedding functions. At home we cook only the leftover meat.
I have seen a lot of blood in my life. My job as a butcher is like that. Like my father I started work as a daily wager in a blacksmith’s workshop. The hard physical work for years told on my health. I had an accident and injured my right hand. Since I could not continue my job there, I took up this job. It is relatively easy.
As the eldest in a family of nine, I shared my father’s burden. After his death, I had to take care of the family. I got my four sisters married. By the time I got married and settled down nothing I had nothing and I was on the streets. But thanks to my wife Mumtaj Begum I never felt the pinch. She manages the financial affairs of the home admirably.
I start my day at 4 a.m. and it carries on till 12 noon. If it is Sunday I go to the market little early. I earn around Rs.200 to 300 a day. During festivals the income doubles but so does my work. Earlier, I used to transport goods on a tricycle in the evenings, but now age is catching up and I am not able to do that work anymore. My younger son Saddam Hussain is my only help now. My elder son Ajmer Raja works as a supervisor in a restaurant in Malaysia.
Having two square meals is a luxury for me. Eating a full course vegetarian meal happens only at wedding functions. At home we cook only the leftover meat. Now at 56, I feel satisfied and content as I have learnt about life the hard way.
Though what I earn as a butcher is paltry compared to my earlier job, I am happy.
(A fortnightly column on men and women who make Madurai what it is.)