Forty-five-year-old Vangala Tavitanna Dora is part of a disappearing tribe of scrap collectors. Yo! Vizag interacts with him as he walks the streets of Vizag with his kavidi (a yoke carried on the shoulder).
“I have been in this line since I was young. I picked this work up from my father and would help him back then. Originally from Rajam, I have been living here for 20 years. I worked as a daily wage worker a decade ago, but though the earnings are good, the work gets very tiring. As a scrap collector, however, I can rest whenever I am tired, and so I returned to it. Every day, I leave home at 9 AM and take an auto to come to VIP road. I walk around in the area calling out and then whoever has scrap to dispose comes to me. I collect scrap metal, plastics, and cardboard. The kavidi that I carry can load up to 10kgs for me and I sell it off at the shop once it reaches that number. I make around Rs.200 on an average a day, but there are times when I get very less or at times nothing at all.
I live in Maddilapalem with my wife and two sons. The elder one works as a security guard while the younger one is studying degree at AVN College. I don’t have a cell phone and do not find the need for one. My sons won’t take up this work after me as they are educated, and will do bigger jobs. They don’t complain that I do this kind of work, as this is what pays for our food and education. I take the day off on Sundays to spend time with family and we usually watch TV at home. I don’t find my work difficult and wish to see my sons settled soon. I hope to continue in this line for as far as possible.”