Popular among the residents of Sector-7, Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, 35-year-old Tata Rao beautifies each garden by gardening an umpteen variety of flowers and organic vegetables.
“I started to work as a gardener at the age of 12, after I left my schooling, solely to make a living. But over the years, as each garden bloomed under my care, I realised how much I enjoyed gardening. What began as a means of sustenance, has become a source of immense satisfaction. Every time I successfully turn an un-cherished piece of land into a beautiful garden full of life and colour, I feel very happy. Among the different kinds of gardening work that I do, I enjoy planting saplings the most. I get a few clients who are very enthusiastic about their garden and want it to look very pretty. They give me detailed instructions on how they would like their garden to look, and I work according to their wishes.
I start early in the morning and usually leave home at 5:30 AM. I work for about twelve hours a day taking care of different gardens. The people I work for either engage me on a temporary or a permanent basis. While on a temporary basis, I am hired by the hour, those who retain me for long, give me a stipend at the end of the month. Generally, the people I work for are very kind and give me tea and biscuits as well. I earn around Rs. 2000 to Rs.3000 per month through the permanent work that I do. On the days that I complete the work of my regular clients early, I scout around and offer my services on an hourly basis. On such occasions, I manage to earn an extra Rs 250-300. Thankfully, there is no dearth of work. The demand for my services is constant, as gardens always need tending.
The money that I earn is however not sufficient, as I have to look after a family of five members. My parents, wife, daughter and I live at Agnampudi in Visakhapatnam. My daughter is studying in the fifth grade. I generally work on Sundays as well, but I’m happy doing it.”