Mohammed Zahid has been selling Bansuri (flute) at the Kala Godha Art District in Mumbai for 13years now. He is from Faizabad, in U.P. He sells flutes from rupees 30 to rupees 300. He walks around the area playing the flute and calling out for customers. Many of his customers are foreign tourists. He earns an average 150 rupees a day. Sometimes even about 500 rupees a day.
According to a custom, in certain areas of Rajasthan, women are hired as professional mourners after the death of a male relative. These women are referred to as a ‘rudaali’ (roo-dah-lee), literally translated as female weeper. They in turn publicly express the grief of family members who are not permitted to display emotion due to social status. The rudaalis make a scene crying out loud. The impact of their mourning also compels other people at the funeral to cry.
The fortune teller with the bull walks around neighborhoods and market streets. His special bull would answer a set of questions by nodding its head in a yes or no. This fortune teller carries a small drum and collects alms, in cash and kind. Children and adults come out of the houses to watch them.
Maruti Bhai Rao is a 65 year old man, who travels in Mumbai with his weighing machine from KanjurMarg Station to Powai garden, spending a couple of days at each spot. He charges rupee 1 for enquiring a person’s weight once. He visits the garden during weekends and spends more time on the station during weekdays keeping in mind customer traffic. He manages to earn about 30-40 rupees a day. He has 5 sons - all of them work in Mumbai.
Mohammed Alim has a ‘junk collection’ shop at Lamington road, Mumbai for the past 5 years. He belongs to Lucknow, U.P. and has been working in Mumbai for the past 13 years. He used to Go about in neighborhoods to collect junk from houses and small shops before setting up the shop. He refused to disclose his monthly income.
This peanut seller sits at a bus stop near Crawford Market in Mumbai. He seasons the peanuts wit salt and lemon and sells them in paper cones and packets. He earns about rupees 3000 a month. His sales dip heavily during the rain months. He belongs to Allahabad and has been selling peanuts for the past 5 years. He used to sell fruit before that.
Santosh Sharma is a barber on Lamington Road in Mumbai. He has been in the profession for the past 20 years. His day starts early morning at 7:30, when he stays around VT Station as he gets more customers there in the morning. He stays in Dadar in Mumbai. His hometown is Banaras, U.P. and he belongs to a family of farmers. He earns about an average of rupees 200 a day and saves enough to go home to Banaras once every year.
This is a cart puller, who works at Crawford Market in Mumbai and carries loads within the area. He carries about 100-200kgs in each round and usually with the help of an assistant. Both men keep exchanging the pulling and pushing activities. He is paid according to the load and distance. He manages to earn about rupees 100 a day. He has been working as a coolie for the 5 years since he came to mumbai from Delhi, where he used to work in a biscuit factory.
Sheesh Lal belongs to Allahabad and has been working as a ‘coolie’ for over 5 years now. He carriers objects from shops to godowns, to vehicles for loading and off loading. He works on Mohammed Ali Road in Mumbai, earns about rupees 50 a day. He carries objects in a cane basket, which is supported on his head on a cloth bundle. When the basket is held vertical on his shoulder, it means he is available to work.
Sharad Mule is 32 years old and carries clay pots from shops to homes, market places, potters etc. for a living. He carries about 45-55 kg at a time sometimes. He starts work early in the morning and works through the day till 8 ‘o’ clock in the night. He earns about rupees 100 a day.