Sitting under a tree in Chinnawaltair (in Visakhapatnam), Sai, a hard-working cobbler, tirelessly strives to make ends meet as he mends shoes for a living.
“I’m from Vizag and have been doing this business since I was 16 years old. My father used to do the same and after he passed away, I took over. It’s been 20 years since then and I’ve pretty much got used to this profession now. My earnings at the previous place were getting bleak and that was when I decided to shift my business to Beach Road. It’s been five years since I’ve started working here and the earnings are much better as compared to my earlier stint. On getting orders, I even design footwear myself for both men and women as per their needs.
I own a house at Poorna market and stay there along with my family. I even get all my materials from Poorna market. My wife is a homemaker and we have 2 children; a son and a daughter. My daughter is currently in the tenth standard and my son has discontinued his studies. He’s 17 years old now and works as a gas welder. I earn around Rs. 200 per day and even though it’s not sufficient to run the house, we somehow manage to get along with it. I work hard for almost 10 hours day and try to maximise my earnings so that my daughter can be educated well. Even though our household earnings are relatively meager, we try to stay satisfied with whatever we have. We’ve even got a TV at home and enjoy watching it together whenever possible.
My customers are fair enough but the numbers have been coming down considerably in the past few years. This is making the going tough for me as I’m finding it difficult to meet the financial needs of my family. I have started thinking of changing my profession as well to earn better. But until the decision is made, I’m determined to work hard each day and make the best I can.”
An Irish Proverb says “There’s often a bad cloth on a tailor and a bad shoe on a cobbler”. Sai’s chapped and overworked hands are a true testament to the hard work he puts in to fuel his family’s daily needs. It’s really heartening to see his efforts despite the financial hurdles he’s facing. We at Yo! wish him all the best and hope that his hard work reaps the sweetest fruits.