Venkati is 52-years-old and has moustache that is almost handle bar. His signature look is his well-oiled-hair neatly combed to make a side partition and is always seen in absolute white clothes — a dhoti and thigh-length kurta. The only other colour one can find on him is a red kumkum bindi.
Venkati has four daughters and despite being illiterate Venkati and his wife provided the basic education to his daughters. “Three of my daughters are married and the youngest one is still studying. I am from Warangal but have been living in Vivekanandapuram for the past 30 years. This place was an absolute jungle then; I would go around collecting papers to many places.
After the locality where I have been staying in developed, I started a small shop and have most customers bring their scrap to the shop to sell or dump. These things are then taken to Begum bazaar and sold…that’s how I make my living,” says Venkati.
Venkati also visits homes on calls once in a while. “Going around is time consuming and my permanent customers know me so well that they call me when they are ready to sell their old newspapers. This is one small business which can never fail as long as people buy newspapers. After sessions end, old books are also sold to us. Magazines don’t give us much profit and nor does plastic. It is only newspapers which get me the maximum profits,” says Venkati.
Venkati’s wife helps him break plastic items so that they are easy to transport in one auto trolley. The rents are high for the existing one room-godown cum shop, so he is shifting to the shop nearby? “I can’t shift to another area. People here know me and I cannot make them run around looking for me. I only wish someone gives away an old working TV as scrap. I want to watch cricket at home,” he smiles.
PRABALIKA M. BORAH
This is one small business which can never fail as long as people buy newspapers