Everyday as scores of people pass by the Olympia junction, this unsung old man who has a story to tell while selling tender coconuts at the gates of Olympia Tech Park goes unnoticed. Rathnam was 7 years old when his parents died. Hailing from Madurai he had a tough childhood receiving no education and guardianship. I listenend to his tragic narration while gulping the coconut water he offered me for 40 bucks which was certainly worth the money and the nutritional value. One doesn’t need a P.hd to know how beneficial is the tender coconut for health.
At the age of 12, he struggled his way to his city of dreams-Chennai were he hoped to make a living. Without remembering the year, he just said that it was during the time when Kamaraj had passed away.After roaming around the city with almost no money in hand, he finally got into constructing buildings. Working all day with no footwear, he got infection in his right foot which had to be amputated. As a kid it was difficult for him toiling in the sun lifting bricks. But after years of hardwork he bought his own tricycle and started selling tender coconuts on the roadside. This new beginning brought an end to his tragic life.
He said, ‘I buy 50 coconuts from the wholesale every morning 5a.m. and almost everything gets over by evening or sometimes with 10 to 15 coconuts left unsold of which I get 5 or 6 rupees profit per coconut. But still I’m very much content with the little money I earn as I do it honestly. I had an old friend who worked with me in construction suggested me to marry one of his relatives. So I married and had 3 daughters and a son of which one of my daughter died suffering from brain fever when she was 10 years old. This was the most regretful part of my life as I took a lot of time to admit her in the hospital until it was too late. But I managed to educate my kids with all I had’. My two daughters are decently married and my son, Pandi did B.Com from Guru Nanak College, excelled in academics, got fees waiver and is now clerk at a corporation ccompany’. They all lived a content life residing at Velachery.
On speaking to him about the GST, he completely had no idea of what it was. He was already hungry as it was lunch time and waited to eat the tiffin which his wife had prepared from home. From the successful people working inside the office building, there was another honest and hardworking man but just that he was outside the building. The place never really matters but satisfaction does.
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