We have all learned, in school, that the most basic of necessities for man is food, water, clothing, and shelter. And when we say food, we mean the food that we consume. The food that we consume doesn’t directly grow on fields. It’s us who make them, using the various parts of various fruits and vegetables.
This is the story of a couple, owing a departmental store, fighting against the rising competition from online supermarkets, giving their best to bring us fresh fruits and vegetables.
Their shop lies on a main road and is almost always crowded. When asked as to how many costumers they serve everyday, they said that the numbers can reach up to five hundred.
They have been in this tiring business for more than eighteen years. Their day starts at 2:30 a.m. when they travel to the city’s biggest market where the fresh fruits and vegetables reach every morning. By the time they purchase all the necessary items, pack it and come back to their shop, it’s almost 5-5:30 a.m. They start assembling the shop so that they can start serving customers by 6-6:30 a.m. Their work goes on until around 10 p.m., between which they take a break of an hour or so for meals. After the customer traffic has settled, they pack up their shop and put things in their place. And by the time they reach home, freshen up, eat and settle down to sleep, it is around 12:30-1a.m.
When asked them if they find this hard, they say that it is obviously hard but, they didn’t have a choice because people will buy from their shop, only if the fruits and vegetables are fresh. To me, they are the epitome of hard work. They also believe that to beat the competition, they receive from the online supermarkets, the only possible route is hard work. They also believe that this hard work is what has kept them going and with constant profits through the years.
Some might wonder if such a hectic schedule would affect family life. But, they do not feel the pinch of it because they say the whole family is almost always at the shop.
They have two daughters, both studying engineering in a reputed college in the city. One can see them helping their parents in the evenings and on weekends.
When I asked them if they have any ambitions or unfulfilled dreams, they said that they’ve always wanted to go settle down in a village and take up agriculture as their livelihood. And to be honest, this dream of theirs isn’t an advantage to just them but, also the country, which is gradually losing out farmers and farming land.
Let’s hope this dream of theirs does come true. For us and for them. Because their hard work of all these years needs to be rewarded at some point.