We all know that there are different types of work done by the people from different backgrounds. Being a roadside cobbler is one of the toughest jobs that anyone can imagine. Sitting at one place for hours , day in and day out fighting with the weather, accepting all the changes which environment is creating, without making excuses and blaming anyone, but just concentrating on work.
Roadside cobblers are helping people and somehow solving their problems by repairing shoes, slippers etc. in such harsh conditions. They are serving people afflicted with emergency ‘wardrobe malfunction’. They ask for a small amount: 10 or 20 rupees to repair a pair of slippers. The daily income varies from two to three hundred rupees on good days and not even a single paisa on bad days. The work which they do is not easy; it requires lot of courage and patience.
Laxman Ram, sits near the SBI in Danapur Cantonment. He is 57 years old, working as a cobbler for 15 years. He has not changed his working place in these 15 years. He charges 10 for polishing a pair of shoes and 20 rupees for repairing slippers.
Another cobbler is Rahul. He is 16 years old. He sits outside a grocery shop in Danapur vegetable market. He started working as a cobbler at such a young age because his father was going through some health issues. He charges the same as Laxman Ram.
Another cobbler, who sits on the footpath near the auto stand in Danapur, is Bijender Ram and he is 45 Years old. He is doing this work for the past 15 Years. He is married and he has one son. Who is in 7th standard in DAV school.
Laxman Ram is also married and has 3 children. The kids have not followed in his footsteps. He is working hard to provide his children with a quality education. He says that all of his children are now graduates. He faced many problems when he has started his journey as a cobbler. He did earn enough to fulfil his family’s needs. He provides services to at least 200 people a day. He sits near the SBI every day including Sunday. He says, “There is no Sunday or holiday for me.” If he did not work a day then he would face financial problems, he says. He works for nine and half hours, from nine in the morning to six-thirty in the evening. He spent five to six thousand rupees on capital, to establish his shop. He used to think sometimes of doing something else, but he did not have enough money to start a new venture in which he was not expert.
Rahul has inherited this work. He has learned his trade from his father and grandfather who were cobblers (mochi). He dropped out of school after the 5th standard but now he has resumed his studies and has started taking tuition. He works for 12 hours starting at 8 in the morning. After work, he studies. He says that he wants to do something big in his life, and earn money so that he can be able to achieve his dreams.
Bijender Ram has spent four to five hundred rupees to establish his trade. His daily income varies depending on the work. Sitting on the footpath he has to face many problems while providing service ,in the afternoon it becomes difficult to sit on the footpath and work ,but still he is working hard for his bread and butter. He has never thought of doing something else other than this because he has never get a chance to attend the school, he said .
We often ignore them, but they are the ones who help us in times of emergency.They are the unsung heroes of our daily life ,who need to be respected like others.
[BMC 5 Sem; St Xavier’s College Mgmt. & Tech.]