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Updated: February 17, 2013 19:18 IST

I am...Shaifuddin — fruit seller

NIKHIL VARMA
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FRUITS OF LABOUR Shaifuddin at his stall
FRUITS OF LABOUR Shaifuddin at his stall

If life gives you apples

Every alternate day, Shaifuddin heads out to the vegetable market near the Majestic Bus Stand to buy stocks of fruits to replenish his fruit cart. “I have to take a bus from Tannery Road and return to my stall in Kammanhalli by 10 in the morning. The lack of storage means that I need to sell all the fruits as quickly as possible.”

He adds, “If a customer buys fruits that are not fresh, they will never come back to the stall. I need to ensure that they get the best produce. I make about Rs. 300 on good days. This area has grown in leaps and bounds in the past few years. Business is not fantastic, but I manage to make ends meet.” Shaifuddin used to work as a carpenter for a few years, before a few friends helped him set up this fruit stall. “Work in those days was hard to come by. With the fruit stall, that situation has changed. I get a regular salary of sorts and have been able to bring my family to the city.”

Bangalore’s massive growth and its evolution from a small town to a teeming metropolis have changed his life for the better contends Shaifuddin.

“When I came to this spot on the Kammanhalli main road, it was a quite place. Most of my customers used to be the residents of the neighbouring Jalvayu Vihar and students from nearby colleges. It is now very busy, with heavy traffic and many shops. However, business is much better. The police and civic authorities do not bother us much.”

Shaifuddin has three children, all of them studying in school.

“They study in a small missionary run English medium school on Tannery Road. I want them to take up professional careers and become doctors and engineers.

He concludes, “Managing a stall is not a very pleasant job. The heat and the dirt from the road make it even more difficult. We also face occasional harassment from civic officers and the police. Thugs try to steal our fruits. However, I am my own master and can work on my own time and convenience. That is a definite positive.”

I Am is a column that features men and women who make Bangalore what it is.

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