SAMBALPUR: It is a story of determination, self-righteousness and living with dignity. It is about how a child born with a physical disability to a poor family grew up to not only help his family sustain through hard work but also made a name for himself as a food vendor in Sambalpur city.
For the last 32 years, Lulla Sahani (50) of Bhutapada in the city has been selling 'aloo muri', a concoction of spices, tamarind water, lemon juice and boiled potato with puffed rice on the streets and eking out his living with dignity.
A native of Muradpur village in Samastipur district of Bihar, Lulla's father Bhola Sahani and mother Bhuli Devi arrived in Sambalpur with him when he was 10-year-old in search of livelihood. Worried about Lulla's future, who was born without right forearm, his father acted on the advice of his ilk and started to sell 'aloo muri' which ensured earning, enough to run the family. Growing up watching his father closely, Lulla decided to take up his trade despite his deformity.
Pushing around the handcart as a child in which his father carried the materials made him realise that he required modification in the cart for manoeuvring it with expertise. Every time he tried to push the cart, it went out of his control and he had to face a tough time to stop it to avoid being spanked by his father.
He thought of a renovation to make his job easier. He tied a loop on the right bar of the cart. Placing his right arm into the loop helped him keeping the cart under control.
At the age of 18, Lulla expressed his desire to take up the trade on his own and his parents supported him. And thus began his enterprise of selling 'aloo muri'. Popular as 'Ek haath wala muri wala', he has carved out a niche for himself on the streets of the city.
Before outbreak of jaundice in the city, he had his permanent spot of selling the concoction outside the Brooks Hill Primary School where he kept his cart parked till 4 pm before hitting the streets where he would continue the trade till late in the evening. But the outbreak of the disease led the school authorities to drive him out of the spot and since then he has been on the move.
Despite hardship, Lulla manages to earn `200 to `250 daily besides monthly Government disability assistance of `300 and has ensured that his two sons, Rahul and Raju, and daughter Shyama are in school. Lulla is committed towards their education and wants them to scale the ladder of achievement in life instead of taking up his trade.