Meet Papayamma, the 75-year-old who sells buttermilk at the Collectorate in Vizag

Buttermilk, Visakhapatnam
Lady selling Buttermilk, Visakhapatnam

Papayamma earns her livelihood within the Vizag District Collectorate compound. Churning refreshing buttermilk, also known as “Majjiga” in Telugu, for one and all, she offers this popular summer cooler in an old fashioned pot. Teja Kovvali finds out more.

“I have been doing this for the past two years. My work usually begins at around 10 in the morning when I bring freshly prepared buttermilk in a pot or two. Flavoured with curry leaves, ginger, and green chillies, it is liked by local officials and a few regular visitors to the Collectorate.

However, with many officials preferring to get buttermilk from home, the sale has gone down considerably over the past few months. While I used to sell about 2 pots earlier, selling even one now has become quite challenging. Priced at Rs 5 per glass, the dwindling sales do not make for great numbers. On average, I manage to sell about 10-12 glasses and earn about Rs 50-60 before calling it a day around 5 in the evening. The numbers drop even further during the winter season.

Regarding family, my husband is no more and three of my children lost their lives at a young age. I now stay near the police quarters in Vizag along with my daughter and son, both of whom work as daily wagers. I have no plans of quitting selling buttermilk any time soon and have no other job to do at home and this is what keeps me going. ”

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