|© Prashant C. Trikannad|
The man with the large red metal trunk on his head is a familiar sight at Marine Lines in South Mumbai where I work. He takes the train from the distant suburbs every morning to deliver chicken and mutton patties to a restaurant close to my office, some 20 km from his bakery. From there he goes to other eateries and delivers more of the same stuff. Obviously, his trunk is heavy but I have seen him walk with a steady gait and without a misstep. This morning, when I took this picture it was raining but our man was oblivious of it. He continued walking, his trunk shielding him from the rain; seemingly, without a care in the world.
I don't know what the city would do without its vast army of porters and carriers. They are mostly unorganised and earn no benefits. But they bear our burden, usually for a small price. If you ask them why they do it, they will tell you, "For our families back home." Every month, they send most of their meagre earnings to their parents and their wives and children living in villages across the country. They lead simple lives but they make a big impact in everyone else's.