Dashrath kumar Choudhary is a photographer at the gateway of India in Mumbai since the past 40 years. He is the oldest photographer and the only one to own the polaroid instant photo machine. The influx of digital cameras has hugely affected the business of photographers at this tourist spot. He belongs to Allahabad in U.P. to a family of farmers. He earns about Rupees 400-500 a day, with some days also paying off nothing.
Ramesh is a balloon seller in the Kala Godha art district in Mumbai and spends most of his time at the Gateway of India monument. He carriers a large inflated balloon which is the signature style of most balloon sellers around the area. He sells a single deflated balloon for rupees 5 and roughly earns about rupees 100 a day.
From jodhpur, Rajasthan he has been making traditional indian leather footwear since childhood. His father was also a cobbler. Today, he sells his shoes through an agent to various shops in Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur. He also crafts custom made shoes for customers. Shoes are priced in the price range of Rupees 100-200. His monthly income is about Rupees 5,000-8,000.
Bhim Singh is from Jodhpur Rajasthan. He plays the ‘shahnai’ at weddings, parties and festive occasions. He belongs to a family of music performers, who traditionally played in various cities and villages of Rajasthan. He belongs to a three member team of musicians all members of his extended family. He did not disclose his monthly income, but revealed he works through an agent. Most customers pay him according to their wishes.
Sona Bai and her family consisting of her son and his wife and two kids, comes from Pune and belongs to a family of antic performers. Her father used to perform in all major public functions in Pune. They show acrobatics and the traditional and famous tight rope walk. They play the ‘dholak’ (drum) while performing and talk in the native language ‘marathi’ to show scenes and build a story. She has been performing since she was 8 years old. She did not disclose the income she makes out of this profession.
In India, paan plays an important part in social life, customs and traditions. It is a beetle leaf filled with condiments and often relished by many, after food and on traditional occasions. This paanwaala has a permanent shop at Colaba in Mumbai for the past 30 years. He considers making paan to be an art, almost like painting. His paans sell from rupees 5 to rupees 250 each, depending upon what has been added in it and the quality of the leaf.
Subhash works at a sugarcane Juice stall, owed by Ram Avtaar who is addressed as ‘seth’ by all workers at the stall. He came from Bihar with a few cousins to work at the stall about 7 years ago. The day begins at 8:30 in the morning and ends at about 10:30 in the night. He works on a monthly wage of rupees 3000. The sugarcane juice is a favourite among the people and he sells a glass full for rupees 5.
This Lemon Soda seller sells fresh lime soda for rupees 5 a glass and has been doing so since the past 11 years. He procures ice from an ice merchant nearby and water from a water seller in the area.
Narayan Salve is from Aurungabad, Nagpur, but has been in Mumbai since he was a teenager. He and his son sell flowers near Kanjurmarg Railway Station. He also has a few small rooms which he gives on rent for accommodation to earn more money. Selling a roses for rupees 5 each and garlands for rupees 7 each, he earns about 100-150 rupees a day. He felt as long as he and his family could eat a day’s meal ,all is fine.
This lottery ticket seller, sells tickets on Lamington Road in Mumbai for rupees 5 each, for lotteries of about rupees 5-10 lacs. He starts his day in the morning at about 9’o’ clock and sits throughout the day till evening 6:30-7:00 pm. He came to mumbai about 8 years back from Lucknow, U.P. and has been selling lottery tickets since. He earns about 5000 rupees a month.