Being hearing impaired never came in the way of this entrepreneur
Ravindra Prabhu, who runs a shop with terracotta products on the road facing Town Hall near Central Talkies, has a curious way of dealing with customers. Whenever a customer asks him the price of a product, he fishes out a calculator from a desk, types the price on it and shows the screen to the customer. He was born with hearing impairment and was never been able to speak.
Mr. Prabhu, 54, has studied till class 4 and learnt pottery from his father, who took the shop on rent from a city hotelier in 1952.
Today, he manages the shop with two employees. The shop has terracotta pots for growing plants of various sizes and shapes, pots (with built-in taps) for cooling drinking water, fancy pots and masks. Some of the products are made in Mangalore while others procured from across the country.
Communicating with customers was never a problem for Mr. Prabhu, and his calculator is just another tool he uses to work around his limitation. He has made a set of four cards to tell customers the prices of his products. Each card has a drawing of the four main types of pots he sells. For more information, he mimes to communicate with customers.
Gajanand, who has been working with Mr. Prabhu for more than six years, said that customers never cheated Mr. Prabhu. However, Mr. Prabhu does have the problem of drunkards passing by the shop in the evenings, he said.
When Mr. Prabhu is not busy selling with his shop, he helps his wife run her catering business.
Bindu Shah, a Bangalore resident, who was here, made it to the shop with her friend in Mangalore. She had been buying from the shop for the last 20 years. She buys what she called the ‘Mangalore matka’, a terracotta pot with an attached tap, at the shop. “My family likes drinking water from the ‘matka’ because it is naturally cooled. We don’t keep water in refrigerator at all,” she says.
Ravindra Prabhu, who can’t speak and hear, sells terracotta products near Central Talkies