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’.
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.
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.
With many tunes to play and flutes to sell, this flutewallah knows how to entice his customers.
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.
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.
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
Establishment and Anti-establishment co-exist and collaborate. They share tea, stories and a beat.
Trying to manage work and life, she tries to make ends meet, and care for the little one.
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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