Friday, June 30, 2006

Travelling in India's public transprt system, be it buses, trains or aeroplanes is the best way to study humanity. I live in a town called Tiruvallur in Tamil Nadu, which is about 45 kilometres from the state capital Chennai, the erstwhile Madras. Right from my college days to the present while coming to office I commute by the local train or EMU as it is called.

This is the beginning of a series in which I plan to chronicle the different people whom I meet on the train, their stories, the struggles of the hawkers and the persistence of the pestering beggars on the train.

EPISODE-1-They can't see but they struggle......

Hats off.... to this select group of about 50 people which includes both men and women, they are visually-challenged and spend almost 14 hours a day on the train selling various items that include-remote-covers, key-chains, toy mobile-phones for kids, batteries, ball-pens etc... .

I personally know a bunch of lazy people who have no physical handicap, but prefer to stay at home and survive on the earnings of their other family members. When I see them, I often wonder at the tragic-irony of life and wonder what great things these blind people would have achieved if they had normal eye-sight.

Life is a daily struggle for these hawkers. They make about 400 to 500 rupees a day. Of this about 300 rupees goes to the cost of buying the articles, 50 to 60 rupees goes as bribe-money to the R.P.F.(railway-police). At the end they make about 100 to 175 rupees a day.

There are a couple of blind couples too, the man hawks key-chains and batteries while the lady sells pop-corn packets. A struggle indeed. The next time you travel by train by something from these hawkers, it will bring a smile on their face and you will feel happy too.


mahesh said...

Sad to think that only adversity brings out the best in us, if what I say is true. We can achieve greater heights if those of us without adversity, strive to reach greater heights.

Sukumari said...

Thoughtful article. And good observation of life around you.

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