Vikas Kumar (23), Toy seller
I moved to Chennai two months ago in search of a job. The job opportunities in my hometown in Bihar weren’t enough for me to sustain. There are jobs, but I don’t earn enough to save and sustain my family. I was living from hand to mouth. My wife and kids are at home, as are my parents and younger sister. I moved away, but I miss them a lot. My oldest child should begin school soon, and I need to save enough money. So I moved here with the blessings of my family. Chennai is a top-class city. In Bihar, we have the Ganga River, but here, you have the Marina Beach. I sometimes just stare at the water and lose track of time. While I don’t know the language – I only know enough to run my business – the people here are kind and polite. They don’t shout or yell, and they help me when I am lost. Being here during the festival season reminds me of home a lot. We have a variant of Pongal at home, called Dahi Chivda. It is made with rice and curd. We prepare it for Maha Sankranti every year. Some of my friends who are also from Bihar and work here decided to celebrate Maha Sankranti this year. We made Dahi Chivda at our house and held a small puja in the morning. We took a bath and wore new clothes and ate together. I called my family in Bihar and wished them in the morning.