Today in India its unbelievable ……. The numbers are a little difficult to swallow… but interesting nevertheless.
It was my regular train journey home from work.
I boarded the 18:50pm train from church gate.
When the train was about to leave Marine Lines, a samosa vendor with an empty basket got on and took the seat next to me. As the compartment was sparsely occupied and my destination was still far away, I got into a conversation with him.
Me: “Seems like you’ve sold all your samosas today.”
Vendor (smiling): “Yes. By God’s grace, full sales today.”
Me: “I really feel sorry for you people. Don’t you get tired doing this tiresome job the whole day?”
Vendor: “What to do, sir? Only by selling samosas like this every day do we get a commission of 75 paise for each samosa that we sell.”
Me: “Oh, is that so ? How many samosas do you sell on an average each day?”
Vendor: “On peak days, we sell 4,000 to 5,000 samosas per day. On an average, we sell about 3,000 samosas a day.”
I was speechless…..for a few seconds. The guy says he sells 3,000 samosas a day; at 75 paise each, he makes about Rs 2,000 daily, or Rs 60,000 a month. OMG! I intensified my questioning and this time it was not for time-pass.
Me: “Do you make the samosas yourself?”
Vendor: “No Sir. we get the samosas through a samosa manufacturer. We just sell them. After selling we give him the money and gives us 75 paise for each samosa that we sell.”
I was unable to speak a single word more but the vendor continued…
“But one thing…; most of our earnings are spent on living expenses. Only with the remaining money are we able to take care of other business.”
Me: “Other business? What is that?”
Vendor: “It is a land business. In 2007 I bought 1.5 acres in Palghar for Rs 10 lakh and I sold it a few months back for 60 lakhs. Now I have bought land in Umroli for Rs 20 lakh.”
Me: “What did you do with the remaining amount?
Vendor: “Of the remaining amount, I have set aside 20 lakhs for my daughter’s wedding. I have deposited the other 20 lakhs in the bank.”
Me: “How much schooling have you had?”
Vendor: “I studied up to third standard; I stopped my studies when I was in the 4th standard. But I know how to read and write. Sir, there are many people like yourself who dress well, wear a tie, wear shoes, speak English fluently and work in air-conditioned rooms. But I don’t think you guys earn as much
as we do wearing dirty clothes and selling samosas.”
At this point, what could I reply. After all, I was talking to a Millionaire! The train chugged into khar station and the samosa vendor got up from his seat.
Vendor: “Sir, this is my station…have a good day.”
Me: “Take care.”
What more is there to say…
Never underestimate the Power of the common man…