KOCHI: Life was hard. Not one to lose resolve, a Kerala girl decided it was time to catch life by the ear.
To support her mother and brother, this college-going girl has become a fish vendor in the busy Thammanam Junction in the city.
A Thrissur-native, Hanan's day in the city begins at three in the morning. "After my morning routine, I spend some time studying," says the third-year chemistry student at Al Azhar College of Arts and Science, Thodupuzha. "At four, I get ready for college and leave for Chambakkara fish market on my cycle. Reaching there, I buy the fish I need. With the help of an autorickshaw driver there, I reach Thammanam. After keeping the fish safe at a house nearby, I leave for college."
Right after college, Hanan takes the two-and-a-half hour journey back. "On reaching Thammanam, I sell fish till nine at night. Then I ride home and go to bed," she says.
Working in the field was no easy task either. "Some time ago, I had decided I'll take a break from selling fish after going through an unpleasant experience with a male colleague who was old enough to be my father. Later, I came back to it," she says.
Life hasn't been easy for Hanan. Her parents separated when she was in Class VII. "Since then, I have done a lot of jobs," she says. "I have give tuition classes to children. I also knew a bit of jewellery making, so I used to make bangles and necklaces, sell them to stores in the area. I'm also a dubbing artist. And I have done roles in a few plays. This was how I used to earn while I was in school."
Even amongst the difficulties in her life, Hanan is a poet. "I can write Malayalam poems instantly," she says. "And I have presented them on many occasions, which are also my source of income."
Things began looking bright for her when the late Kalabhavan Mani heard of her and contacted her.
"He called up and asked me if I could write some folk songs for him," she says. "I was able to do that. He kept on supporting me and pushing me to succeed. He even told me that he admired the way I tackled hurdles in life. He opened up opportunities for many programmes where I could earn." Seeing her difficulties, director Arun Gopi has offered Hanan a role in his next film.