My name is Rooban and I have been delivering newspapers to people’s homes in Malleswaram every morning for over a year now. I started off because I wanted to help my parents. My mother works in a hotel, and my father is a driver in a travel agency. I wanted to be able to pay for my own education and that of my younger brother. Other boys in our colony were already working as newspaper deliverers. I asked one of them to get me also a job. That’s how I started.
My Sir, Srinivas M., who owns Maruthi Newspaper Agency has also given me a cycle. I start my day at 4.30 a.m. when he gives a wake-up call on my parents’ mobile. I wake up the other boys in my area and we all cycle together from our colony in Majestic to Malleswaram Circle. That’s where we pick up newspapers and start inserting the supplements into the main paper. By 5.30 a.m. I start delivering the papers to people’s homes, and it goes on till about 7.30 a.m. We have to deliver by then, before customers start leaving home for work.
I cover about 60 houses; many of them are apartments and I have to run up and down five or six floors — one after the other! In many apartments, the lift is switched off till about 7.30 a.m., so I have to take the stairs. Some people say it’s okay if I throw the paper into their balcony on the second or third floor, standing on the ground floor. So in about 10 houses I do that; I don’t climb.
In the initial days when I started out, Srinivas Sir always gave me a written route map indicating which newspaper I have to deliver in which house. Many homes buy more than one newspaper, and many buy different papers on different days. So initially it was quite confusing and I would goof up. But after about four weeks I learnt it all by heart.
After we deliver the papers, all of us go and meet Srinivas Sir in a hotel over coffee and we tell him how many papers we need for the next day, which he writes down. Some customers tell us in advance that they won’t be there and don’t need the paper.
After that, I cycle back home, and me and my younger brother get ready for school. Even when I have exams, I don’t miss this routine. When we are sick or can’t come, we inform Srinivas Sir and some other boy does our route then. During the rainy season, we have to start extra-early and wear a raincoat. We meet in some shop basement and cover the papers with plastic before taking them for delivery.
My evenings are for playing football with my friends in the grounds. I am a fan of Tamil actor Vijay and watch only his movies on TV. I like watching fight scenes and comedy shows. I cycle about six or seven kilometres every day.
My parents don’t want me to work. But I want to, so that I can help them and they can save their money for our everyday needs.
( I am is a weekly column about men and women who make Bangalore what it is)