Occupation: Sells posters
I have been selling posters at Chala for the last 30 years now. It all started when I dropped out of school after class 10. Although I secured good marks and could have secured a ‘proper job’, my independent streak refused to let me do so.
With the money I managed to save doing odd jobs, I bought a couple of posters of gods, goddesses, scenery and the like from a dealer. I travelled from one place to the other to sell them. One day, I decided to locate myself at Chala, as I felt business was better there.
In those days, posters were a novelty and there were just a handful of vendors selling them. Sales in those days were phenomenal and it helped me to educate my daughter, Manju, who is now married and has a family of her own. Now, however, sales are rather dismal as people have new and better options for images. Very few buy these posters now. Besides, although the price of posters has risen, the quality has taken a dip.
I am 60 years old now. When once I would travel by bus daily to sell posters from 8 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., I now come once a week on Sundays and occasionally on public holidays, as most shops in Chala are closed then and I will not be disturbing their business by blocking their doorway. I also can’t bear the extremities in weather like I used to.
Having spent years at Chala has its benefits as nearly all the vendors and shop keepers in Chala are my friends. When business is dull, we sit and chat. For lunch, we at times go together to a nearby restaurant. Most days, I pack lunch from home.
Although, I have often longed to open a stall of my own, I have now relinquished my dreams. I have one foot in the grave now and would like to sit back and relax.
When I am not here selling posters, I spend my days at home in Kattakada with my wife, Radha, reading the newspaper or watching television. Besides, even if I wanted to start my own business where would I get the funds for it?
(A weekly column on men and women who make Thiruvananthapuram what it is)