“I started my career as a cycle rickshaw puller when I was barely 11. There were no autos, motorcycles and cars when I started pulling the cycle rickshaw. Earlier, I used to ferry passengers but now I have remodelled my cycle rickshaw and using it for the transportation of goods. There is no fixed price as such when it comes to my income. It all depends on how much the customer is willing to pay.
I belong to a remote village in Karnataka. I was one of those aimless souls who used to wander around the streets. I loved playing cricket. I would often spend my time on the grounds with my friends bunking school. Frustrated with my behaviour, my father wanted me to work under my cousin in a factory but I ran away from home when I was 10 years old as I couldn’t face him. I moved to Hyderabad in the year 1964. My friend, Basha Bhai, who was more responsible than me took charge of my life. He offered me a job as a rickshaw puller and pushed me in life to get going. Had it not been for him, I would have struggled to even have one meal a day.
Today, I am 66 years old and independent. I got my first daughter married into a good family. And my two sons are in the carpentry and construction field. However, things seem to be bleak ever since the Coronavirus struck. Most people who have skills and knowledge are working from home. But for people like us, the choice is between hunger and safety. What should we pick?”