As our reporters Christina Kitti and Abhinga PL combed the city streets for interesting stories, they found five. Each one a tale of grit, resilience, dignity and survival in the face of crushing poverty. Each one telling us that Bengaluru is not just the city of glistening glass-fronted buildings, speeding traffic, pubs and malls. It is also the city of sellers of random curios at traffic junctions, of street vendors, petty business owners and migrants who come from various parts of the country looking for roots and yet remain dispossessed. Five men. Five snapshots.
I run a flower shop. It is my grand-father’s business and I am continuing it. I was first a carpenter, then a driver and now, a florist. I earn about Rs 500 everyday. I buy my flowers from the whole-sale market and on good days, things are good. Otherwise, one goes on.
— Mahadvan, florist
I run a shoes shop. During festive seasons, I earn well. Otherwise, things are tough. My brother has no job, so he also helps me. I earn just about Rs 4000 per month. And sometimes, a bit more.
— Arun, shop owner
I run a cloth stall. I earn Rs 200 daily and buy fabrics from Shivajinagar’s shops and sell it forward. What I make is enough to take care of my family. There is nothing more to it. Mere survival is enough.
—Babu, cloth seller
My father and I bring jamun from Dodaballapura and sell it here. We earn Rs 4000 to Rs 5000 a month. It is not a lot but it is not bad either.
— Nagesh, fruit vendor
I am a fruit vendor and came from Kolar over 15 years ago. I sell guava on a bicycle business in cycle. I buy the fruit in the City Market for about Rs 2000 and I sell it for a profit of about Rs 150 to Rs 200. I make Rs 5000 in a month most of the time and it is not enough to run my home or take care of the family.
— Mohemmed Gouse Fruit vendor