I AM... Metroplus

I am.. Rajkumar

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE TASTE Panwallah Rajkumar

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE TASTE Panwallah Rajkumar  

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Paan shop vendor, Infantry Road

I came to Bangalore many years ago from Allahabad. I stayed at the railway station for a few days, did odd jobs and ended up in Shivajinagar. One of the paanwalas in the vicinity was from my village in UP. I assisted him and he helped me set up a small paan stall outside the Eden Park restaurant. I have been here for the past eight years and have seen the city and this area change tremendously. Most of the streets were eerily quiet during office hours and the traffic on the roads was sparse. That has changed now. Traffic remains high throughout the day. More offices have been set up in this area and that helps me get more business on weekdays.

When I was new to the city, one could spot only the occasional BMTC bus or autorickshaw that operated during non-office hours.

The climate was excellent all year around and you seldom needed to use a fan. That is not the case anymore. The noise and the dust makes it an ordeal to sit in the stall for almost 15 hours in the day.

I walk from my house in Cooke town and open the stall at 6 in the morning everyday. I prefer not to take a bus as I save money and also like walking in the mornings. It keeps me fit and healthy. Once I reach the stall, I put the paan leaves into water, rinse them and prepare the mix for meetha paan and keep it in the fridge. The crowd starts to pick up from about 9 a.m and there is a steady flow till 9 p.m. I manage to make enough to to eke out a living. My family stays with me. I have two infants. I want them to study in a good English medium school. I like Bangalore. The people are very helpful and cheerful, they are always ready to pitch in during times of need.

I don’t think I would have enjoyed working in any other city. Even with its faults, it has become home for me.

(I AM is a weekly column featuring men and women who make Bangalore what it is)

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 8:45:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/i-am-rajkumar/article6228493.ece

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