It was my usual train journey to home from work boarding the 20:50 train at Paranur. When the train was about to start from Guduvanchery, one Samosa vendor with his empty samosa basket boarded the train sat next to my seat. As the compartment was sparsely crowded and also my destination station is far away, I felt like interacting with the Samosa vendor for sometime as a time pass.
Me: “Innaikku Samosa full sales pola!” (Seems like you have sold all the samosas today)
Samosa Vendor: Smilingly, “Aamanga Kadavul punniyathula innaikku full salesnga (Yes, by God’s grace full sales today)
Me:“Paavamga aanal, Full day ippdi sales pannal tired aayida maateengala
(I really feel pity on you people. Wont you get tired if you do this tiresome job all the day?”)
Samosa Vendor: “Enna saami seiya.. adhanae pozhappu… Ippdi samosa vithakka dan Oru samosaku 75 paisa commission kuduppanga”
(What to do sir! This is our job. Only if we sell samosas like this everyday, we will be getting a commission of 75Paise per samosa we sell
Me:“Oh appdiya! Oru naalaikku evvalavu Samosa sales aagum?” (Oh is it! On an average, how many Samosas you sell every day?”)
Samosa Vendor: “Peak timena 3000-3500 samosa ore aalu vithuruvom. Dull time na 1000 kooda theradhu.. Thoraiyama 2000 samosa vippom oru naalaikku”
(If it is peak time, we sell around 3000-3500 samosas per peson. If dull time not even 1000 will move on that day. On an average, it will be around 2000 samosas we sell everyday)
I was speechless for a second, since if it is 75 paise per samosa and that guy says he sells at an average of 2000 samosas every day which means his daily earnings is Rs.1500 approx and his monthly earnings come to Rs 45000 per month.
I further intensified my questioner and this time not for time pass but out of curiosity.
Me: “Samosa neenga seiveengala?” (Will you prepare samosa yourself?)
Samosa vendor: “Ileenga. Enga mudhalali samosa mastera vachu seiya solluvaru. Samosa vithu kaasu kuduppom. Evvalavu vithomo adhukku maenikku 75kaasu nu pottu kudupparu. (No. Our owner prepares these samosas through samosa vendor and we just sell them here. After selling, we will give the money to him and he will give us a commission of 75 paise per samosa we sell.)
I was unable to speak a single word further. But that person continued.
Samosa vendor: “Aana onnunga.. Evvalavu sambadichalum Kudiliyae poidudu paadhi panam… Meedhi panatha vachu dan matha businessae odudu” (But one thing, Most of our earnings are being spent on drinks itself. Only with the remaining amount we are able to take care of other business)
Me: “Matha businessa! Adhu enna!!” (Other business! What is that?”)
Samosa Vendor: “Land businessunga… Indha samosa kaasa saethu vachu 2007 la Urapakkathula 1.5 grounds 3lakhs ku vaanginaen adha konjam kaalam munnadi 15 Lakhs ku vithaen. Vandha panathula 5 Lakhs ku Uthiramerur la Land vaangi potrukken”
(One Ground is 2400 Sq Ft.It is land business. In 2007 I bought 1.5 grounds of land at Urapakkam for 3 Lakhs and I have sold it few months ! back for 15 Lakhs. With that money, I have purchase some Land in Uthiramerur for 5 lakhs.)
Me: “Micha panatha enna paneenga (What did you do with the remaining amount?)
Samosa Vendor: “Micha panam 6 Lakhsa Ponnu kalyanathukku odhukki vachuttaen, 4 lakshatha Bankla pottutaen.”
(With the remaining amount, I have set aside 6 lakhs for my daughter’s marriage and 4 lakhs deposited it in bank).
Me:“Sir evvalavu padichirukeenga?”
(How much have you studied?)
Samosa Vendor:“moonavadhu passunga.. naalavadhula niruthikitten. Aana ezhuda padikka theriyumunga” (Third standard pass. Stopped studies when I was in 4th. . But I know how to read and write)
I was almost in a shocked state and the further statement of him nailed me right in the head.
Samosa vendor: “Sir ungala maadhir neraiya paeru Office ku Tie Kattitu, Boots pottukittu, English paesittu, AC roomla vela seiveenga aana Azhukku thuni pottutu irukkara naanga vangara SambalamVaanguveengala nu Sandhegam dan” (There are many people like you who dress well wearing tie, shoes, talks fluently in English. Work in AC room. But I don’t think you guys earn as much as we do wearing dirty clothes and sell Samosas.)
At this point of time, the train chugged into Chrompet station and the Samosa vendor started from his seat.
Samosa vendor:“Sir, enn station vandruchu.. paakalam…”
(See you sir. My station has come.)