Thursday, September 2, 2010

Odds and Ends

Time to clean up the act.

A traditional ear cleaner, with his trademark red cap rolled up at the ends, cleans out a young man's ear at Chandni Chowk in old Delhi. The young person most likely works as a loader - a labourer who works in markets loading and unloading goods from trucks.

Both of them are a part of the informal economy and are mostly likely to be people of the streets - living, eating and sleeping on the streets. The old Delhi area, which has a lot of wholesale markets attracks a large number of people from across north India for employment as loaders, labourers and those who provide services to this section of the migrants.

A loader takes a strong puff before starting on his daily chores on a winter morning in 2009.

It is hard work and one with risks. Accidents happen, the goods fall off occasionally and then there is always the risk of not being paid the proper wages. These men live alone, tie their megre savings to their clothes and send money back home as and when the opportunity arises.

Monkeying around. A madari (community that ekes out a living by making monkeys perform) showcases the acting skills of his animals on a pavement.

The madaris are a community that resides in a settlement in a state adjacent to Delhi. The people languish in poverty and illiteracy, and are seen as poachers because of restrictions on the trapping of animals. Efforts are on by the Government of India and also by NGOs to persuade them to take up different vocations and give up their traditional means of livelihood, which end up depleting our forests of their wildlife.

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