Balancing the large aluminium and plastic vessels on her head, Ramulamma, the 45-year-old fisherwoman from Vizag, has perfected this skill over 20 years. Sporting a bright floral saree and a short-sleeved blouse, Ramulamma is a picture of strength and resilience. Despite the beating sun, her weatherbeaten face is wreathed in smiles, when Team Yo! had approached her for an interview. She turned one of her plastic vessels upside down and sat on it to talk about her life.
“At 25, I began selling fish door-to-door to make ends meet. After my husband fell ill, it was my earning that helped raise my two daughters. My husband was a fisherman. So, we had our boat and nets. But all of that was sold to meet his medical expenses,” she says.
Walking us through her routine, the 45-year-old fisherwoman from Vizag, shares, “I set early by 6 AM to the harbour and procure fresh fish. Each day, I choose a different area in the city to sell my fish. Over the years, I’ve realised that doing my job is an art. I go door-to-door and strike conversations with the ladies of the houses. Though I witness better business on Sundays, my customers are sweet enough to make purchases on weekdays as well. On average, I manage to make Rs 500/- to Rs 700/- per day.”
When asked if the earnings are enough to run the family, Ramulamma laments, “We are somehow holding it all together and taking one day at a time. A lion’s share of what I make goes into paying my husband’s medical bills. With the little of what’s left, I spend on my daughters’ education. My elder daughter wants to be a lecturer and the younger one dreams of becoming a doctor. Unlike me, I want my daughters to study further and secure well-paid jobs. And I’ll do the best I can to make their dreams come true.”
As she stood up to leave, a couple of kittens moved around her. Taking out tiny fish from her vessel, Ramulamma fed them and went on to the next street.