KOCHI: The word fishmonger brings to one’s mind the image of a man dressed informally and seated on a two-wheeler calling out to customers with the help of a horn. However, residents and those frequenting the area near Kaloor stadium have a different opinion, since they are becoming used to seeing a set of formally dressed fish sellers.
Before Covid-19 outbreak, Sreekanth Madhusoodanan and Arun Sajan were employed with the hospitality industry and had good positions in top hotels in the state. “But the pandemic changed the equation and the once-prosperous industry got severely hit,” said Sreekanth. “With tourist arrivals drying up and the prospects of the industry not seeing any immediate letup, we thought about starting a venture of our own,” he said.
“It had to be something simple that didn’t require any huge investment and which we knew,” he said. According to him, they thought of starting a business selling fruits, vegetables, grocery items or fish. “We weighed in all aspects before zeroing in on fish since it is the one thing which is always in demand,” he said. “The one thing that worked in our favour is the non-judgemental attitude of our families.” The duo took a six-month interest-free loan from the Kerala Tourism Employees Union (KTEU) and rented a goods autorickshaw to transport and sell the fish from.
“Our day begins very early. We go to the harbour for the fish auctioning and get our day’s take. We have been doing this for the past one month and are getting a decent profit,” said Sreekanth. Since the rent and the fuel cost were eating into their profits, the duo bought a vehicle.
“There might be others who too have taken up such ventures, but don’t want to advertise. However, we believe that there is nothing shameful in taking up any job to earn our livelihood and take care of our families. If Malayalis are ready to go to other countries and do the so-called blue-collar jobs, nothing should hinder them from doing the same in their own country,” said Sreekanth. Arun and Sreekanth want to set an example for the others who have lost their jobs.