There’s A Wallah For That

Astrology, mind reader, street, wallah, horoscope, palmist
Images: Shrenik Rao/ 7MB
Where there’s a market, there’s a wallah. Here's a photo story of jugaad, enterprising spirit and India's many professions.

Where there’s a will, there’s a wallah, or so it goes in India. For many of India’s street entrepreneurs, their businesses, suffixed with the term ‘wallah’, become their identities. They take up a range of micro-enterprises to make ends meet. Here’s a photo story which gives a glimpse into the everyday of some ‘wallahs’.

The Astrologywallah

Astrology, street, mind, reading, device
Image: 7MB

This electronic Astrologywallah takes you back to the future with his bling headphones. A device is connected, which supposedly forecasts what your future looks like. For him, there is money to be made – for ten rupees, you may get a glimpse into your future through this electronic device.

The Gandhiwallah

Gandhi, costume, paint, street, performer
Image: 7MB

Impersonating the father of the nation, he walks around with silver paint smeared all over his body. He uses Gandhi’s simple image to solicit loose change, with few takers for him though.

The Flutewallah

Flute, seller, vendor, street
Image: 7MB

With many tunes to play and flutes to sell, this flutewallah knows how to entice his customers.

The Gunwallah

Gun, airgun, pop, game, street,
Image: 7MB

He looks on as his customer points a hand-made gun at the target. If the gun’s iron pellets manage to hit the target, the customer wins a bounty.

The Tattoowallah

tattoo, artist, street,
Image: 7MB

With a tattoo machine, and a little suitcase kit, the tattoowallah makes the streets his studio, and skin his canvas. He applies coconut oil to soothe the pain, and turmeric to sterilize.

The Chickenwallah

chicken, butcher, street,
Image: 7MB

Chop, chop chop – a thigh, a breast and a drumstick. Two customers wait for their chicken – live, dressed or skinless.

The Policewallah and the Newswallah

journalist, policeman, street, shop
Image: 7MB

Establishment and Anti-establishment co-exist and collaborate. They share tea, stories and a beat.

The Pendantwalli

pendant, seller, street, merchant, india
Image: 7MB

Trying to manage work and life, she tries to make ends meet, and care for the little one.

The Panwallah

Pan, wallah
Image: 7MB

On seeing Indians eat Pan, a colonial anthropologist once quipped, “these Indians eat some kind of leaf and spit blood.” Chewing pan is a tradition to spruce up your mouth and breath. Holed up in his box shop, this Panwallah, adds a dash of chuna (calcium hydroxide) and betel nuts to green betel leaves.


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