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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

'My Papa is the ice-cream seller'

Pooja and Anshu are quite a sort of celebrities in their school. After all, their father is an ice-cream seller. At least, in a government school in a poor neighbourhood, this is something special.

Other kids look at them in awe. They feel that the sibling are lucky as they can have ice-cream whenever they want though it may not be exactly the case. Kaushal Prashad came to City ten years ago and has made a living selling ice-creams six months a year.

He pushes the handcart and first drops the children to the school and then goes ahead. He even picks them back in the afternoon, as the school is not too far. He has a small dwelling of his own now.

In the government school where Pooja studies with her younger sister, kids don't flaunt cell phones or make fun of the kid whose family has a mere Maruti 800.

Here cycles are a luxury. Most come on foot and not everybody has a full uniform. Families don't have enough money to buy separate dresses for everybody. And so Kaushal Prashad's wife got a piece of cloth for the kids' uniform. Her husband also got trousers of the same piece of cloth.

Do you give them ice-cream whenever they ask? They don't ask too many times, he says. 'kabhi kabhi to dena hi padta hai'. Though the youngest kid, a son, who is at home and yet to get admission pesters him more. Kaushal Prashad earns 4,000-Rs 5,000 a month and is quite satisfied with the earning, hopeful that it will pick up in the scorching summer.

Once the season passes, he will go to mandi and sell vegetables. I am not sure what plans he has for his kids' future. He wants them to study. Though his income may not rise as fast, as the fees for educational institutes and competition examination forms is going up, he is not bothered.

He knows that they will make up their mark somewhere. He hasn't done too badly, in fact, better than his brother who went to Mumbai and is hardly able to spend time with his children. And Kaushal Prashad's children are proud of their Pop.

His job brings them joy. Other kids ask them 'tumhare papa ice-cream bechte hain'. And the kids get a feeling that they are lucky. That's childhood innocence. This post is part of the series of stories, 'How the ordinary Indians live.

Read the earlier posts filed under this tag on this blog:

1. The groundnut sellers: Do elections matter to Pandit Ji and Aslam?
2. The candy-seller on cycle: Magic of mithai-wala
3. A samosa-seller's nap under the tree shade
4. Chacha's qeema-stuffed samosas
5. Tea shops in India: Shrinking and Vanishing
6.'Child who sells CHANA Jor Garam


Yayaver said...

Really liked the article. It touched the heart. :)

Gurgaon said...

This is an awesome series. Thank you for taking this up!

abhijith said...

Really touching....

but what the hell is this:

you keep yelling at the top of your voice that Muslims are stereotyped and discriminated against, but as the saying goes ---
"in the bathhouse...."

indscribe said...

Yayaver, Gurgaon thanks for appreciating.

Abhijith: What's wrong with that post, bhai!

Anonymous said...

aap ka yeh blog nischit roop se dil ko chhone wala hai , filmi ya technical batton ki tulna mai yahan par aakar ek sakkon sa milta hai , waise mai yahan par comic world se kuch comics ki talash mai aaya tha jahan aapne likha tha

Fauladi Singh series was my favourite and I have 55 Faulad comics.

Swarg ke Bhagwan series was in two parts and ended with Dorf rocket and Dr John, Faulad, Lamboo destroying the so-called swarg.
samay nikal kar comic ko bhi dhyan de , good luck

Amit J said...

this reminds me of a time when i used to show off that my dads salary is Rs.100,since that was the greatest no i knew...funny how innocent we were back then

indscribe said...

Anon: I am also thinking about focusing on comics. The problem is that I don't have a scanner yet. But will certainly post them sooner or later. You didn't introduce yourself!

Amit: Hundred rupee. Yes once it was considered a big note. In fact, in the 50s and 60s, the salaries were in that range and were considered good enough to run big households.

Rachna said...

Very nice post! Innocent and reflective of how most of India lives. The innocent pleasures of childhood have been shown so well by you.

Natasha said...

And they say 'money buys EVERYTHING'.

Nice article.

Raja said...

I am glad I found this blog. I will blogroll this.

Anonymous said...

hay very nce and i am so happy,thank u