PUDUKKOTTAI: While there are children who are attending online classes due to pandemic shutting down schools, a handful of school children from a village in Pudukkottai are standing under the scorching sun to sell tender palmyra fruits (Nungu) to earn money to support their families.
Two unemployed youth, Anand (22) and Manikandan (21), relatives from Athiripatti village in Pudukkottai, were bewildered after the extension of lockdown with more restrictions. They were unable to find jobs.
In order to support their families in this trying time, they have decided to sell tender palmyra fruits obtained from trees in their farmland. A few children from the street joined their small business venture to assist them with pocket money.
The two youth climb two trees a day at their farmland to pluck palmyra fruits. They bring them to the national highway running some distance apart from their village. They set two palm leaves over their heads to give shadow and sit at the roadside by 9 am.
They cut and extract palmyra fruits and give them to four children, who take them in palm leaves and stand at different spots on either side of the highway to sell them. There was nobody to be seen in that stretch other than this small group of ‘businessmen’.
They stand till evening and sell the fruits to those who travel by cars and bikes on the highway.
Anand said “I have studied BA Economics and Manikandan completed ITI. Because of the lockdown, both of us could not find any jobs. So we have started selling palmyra fruits as these are hot summer days. We can earn Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 a day.”
They sell one piece of palmyra fruit for Rs 3. Many cars that pass by the highway stop there to buy fruits from them.
Udhaykumar, studying 7th standard, said “There is no school for us in the past one year. Because of the second wave surge, it seems they are not going to open it this year too. Instead of sitting idle at houses and playing in the streets, we, friends, come here to help sell palmyra fruits. In the evenings, we get some pocket money. We need not expect our parents for pocket money as they are already reeling under financial issues.”
Anand said: “We can do this business till palmyra fruits are available in our trees. After that, I have no idea as to what to do for earnings.”