Swarms of people passing the Bungalow Road seem to miss the unmissable. Having honed the art of ignorance myself, I quite successfully give certain human coordinates that form the aesthetics of the area as much as McDonald’s or Bookland a miss, but not this time.
Priyanka and Anshu, having evaded the liberal policies of the government, carry an air of versatility, to be able to fit in or rather have the surroundings fit them. The articles they are selling are like accolades on offer. They sell stationery items.
Having punctuated the area for over 8 years, 16 years old Priyanka, who is typically seen reading elementary school books outside Planet Fashion, boasts of having taught business skills to many top notch garments vendors in the area. Bablu, a prominent garments crusader in the area confirms the claim. “Priyanka taught me the nitty gritty of the garment market, from getting the articles at wholesale rates from Tank Road and Ramesh Park to selling the articles and managing my accounts”, says Bablu. He assists his partner in managing a make shift niche where wide variety of clothes can be seen arranged in files of threes on a cot.
Albeit a school dropout, Priyanka takes pride in attending tuitions from 3 to 6 PM every day. However, she laments her parents’ decision to make her leave school and doesn’t want the same fate for her 4 younger sisters. A resident of Chandrawal Village, Priyanka’s day starts with helping her mother with domestic chores after which she gets down to tutor her younger sisters. “I study everyday so that I could teach my younger sisters”, says Priyanka.
On a typical day, she can be seen with a box of assorted stationery articles switching spots to try and get potential customers. Her wingman is usually 9 years old Anshu, who unable to pronounce the ‘N’ in her name calls herself Ansu. She considers Priyanka her idol and can be seen copying her jargon in her own way.
The duo earn somewhere between Rs 600-700 per day on weekdays and over Rs 1200 on weekends. Priyanka claims that she gives her earnings to her father who works in a thread factory in Malkaganj. She also takes pride in having an account in Canara Bank.
After a day’s work, much like the other 40 children selling different articles in Kamla Nagar, the duo retires at 9PM. Their employers are their parents who tally the numbers of articles sold and the earnings upon their return. About to leave, I extend my hand towards Priyanka for a handshake. She shies away and instead folds her hand wishing me adieu.
Featured Image Credits – Jowhiti for Tripadvisor