I am…D. Selvaraj

D. SelvarajPhoto: Saraswathy Nagarajan   | Photo Credit: Saraswathy Nagarajan

Occupation: Wholesale egg seller

Yes, the odour is a little strong… one gets used to it. My father began this shop in this little space and we have been wholesale dealers in eggs for the last 25-30 years.

I don’t even notice the smell because I began helping my father, Durairaj, soon after I completed class ten from the Tamil medium school in Killipalam. My children are, however, studying in private schools.

Didn’t you see the other wholesale dealers in eggs on this tiny street that connects Thampanoor to Thycaud? That is how this street came to be known as Mutta Street.

Initially it was only chicken eggs that were sold. The eggs in my shop come in trucks or mini-lorries from Nammakkal in Tamil Nadu. There aren’t enough eggs for sale in Kerala.

Then when customers in the city began asking for duck eggs, we began stocking that. Duck eggs come from Andhra Pradesh. But now there are many people who are buying quail eggs. It is supposed to be good for health and is considered to have medicinal values. I buy them from small-scale farms on the outskirts of the district, from places such as Neyyattinkara and Vizhinjam. Many buyers believe that quail eggs are beneficial for people with respiratory illnesses. These tiny eggs cost Rs. 25 for 10 eggs.

The price of eggs fluctuate according to the season. Prior to Christmas, there is a huge demand for eggs and so the price might go up a little. Now, the price of one chicken egg is Rs. 3.80 while the cost of one duck egg is Rs. 6.50. These are wholesale rates. It will be slightly expensive if you buy from retail shops.

I sell about 30,000 eggs in three days. We get fresh stocks every three days. I open shop at 7.30 a.m. and down shutters by about 9 p.m. But there are shops in the vicinity that open at 6 a.m. Hotels and small-scale buyers come here early to buy their stock.

In summer, eggs spoil easily, especially duck eggs. We don’t have refrigeration. But fast sales ensure that stock gets sold quickly. Space is at a premium in these places in the city. Since my shop is really tiny, we stack the egg holders and that can damage some eggs.

You know, by now, just by holding an egg, I can say whether it is spoilt or not. Spoilt eggs have to be trashed but there are customers for broken eggs. It is cheaper and so affordable to certain sections of society. Some eggs do get broken during transportation and while handling in the shop. That is part of the business.

That man examining each egg is my employee. He is taking a close look at each of the eggs in the batch that we bought today by holding it against the sun and by gently tapping it. My father-in-law also helps me in the business.

I stay at Valiyasala, quite close to my shop, with my wife, Priya, daughter, Swetha, and son, Raja. Both of them are school students.

I hope Raja takes over the business from me. I have no complaints at all. This business gives me a satisfying livelihood. There is always demand for eggs in the city.

(A weekly column on men and women who make Thiruvananthapuram what it is)

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 8:46:27 AM |

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