Street Life – The Ocean In A Shell


Selling treasures from the seabed, Chintaya, a seashell stall owner talks about his life by the beach.

“Sixteen years ago I came to this beach from Vijayawada and made Vizag the city of my destiny. When I was in  grade 5, my brother and I came here to help my uncle with his seashells business. Since then, my life has been all about the sea and its beauty.  Eventually, we inherited the business and later even opened a second shop. We import shells and other sea related objects from different shores across the country. There are times when I personally go to select shells and conches from different places. We see a variety of customers, some are nice and some annoy us at times, but it is all part of the commitments I made to myself here. Over time, I have learnt other languages, right here on the shores. Now, I speak Hindi fluently and a bit of English. On a good day, I make about 500 to 600 rupees. Ours is a joint family. I got married only two months ago. I do take pride in the fact that my brother’s children go to school. I love dropping them to school in the mornings.

Much has changed in these 16 years, the sea has surged forward and the sandy area of the beach has significantly reduced. The water level has risen. The people visiting this place have also gone down south due to and increase in the accessibiltiy of other beaches around.  The number of shops dealing with similar wares has also risen in this area increasing our competition. On a positive note, our stall will soon be allotted a permanent store; we have paid the GVMC for the proposed permanent shops that will be built around here. In the future, I do have other business plans, and no, those plans are not related to the sea.”

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