S Ramesh, 45 years, fruit vendor
M native is a village near Villupuram and I came to Chennai 30 years ago, when I was just a 15-year-old boy. As I was not good at studies, I moved to the city in search of a job. I started working in a fruit shop and stayed there for several years. Now, I am running a pushcart fruit shop in Choolaimedu. Every day, I would start my day at 4 am. I procure fruits from the wholesale market in Koyambedu. Usually, my day would end at 11.30 pm. Even though I am earning sufficient money to pay my rent and bills, the income is not steady. Sometimes, I manage to earn a profit. However, during lean days, I would suffer loss. The loss is mostly due to the rotting of fruits. The sales would be very low during rainy days. On average, I get Rs 500 per day as a profit. Being in this occupation, I cannot afford to take leave. I close my shop only when I am sick or travelling to Villupuram. Even after my marriage, my family was residing in Villupuram. My wife, son and daughter to the city only in 2000. My daughter is pursuing engineering and my son is a Class 12 student in a private school. I would not force anything upon my children and they are free to choose their career. My job is to provide them with everything and make their dreams come true.