Balaram Shiva is a 24-year-old who work as a tour guide for the local tour to the sacred centre in Hampi. He basically gives a brief of what all has happened in the different temple in Hampi. He has been a guide since he was 17. He has done a diploma course in tourism from the Krishna Dev Raya college in Gangavati in Karnataka.
The best thing about Shiva is that he is so involved in the art of storytelling of history and all that has happened here in Hampi. The nature of his job involves a lot of interaction with the public. The knowledge he has about the place is interesting to see. He explains every minute detail about the place and events that occurred during the past.
Shiva was born and brought up in Hampi, that is why he loves the historic relation of the place to mythology. The skill of the art of storytelling is something that he got from his dad who was a teacher in the primary school in Hampi.
“My dad has always told me different stories which fascinated me to do this. My family supports what I do,” he said. Shiva lives with his parents and younger sister.
How and when did you start this profession?
“Story telling was always a favourite thing to do for me. Whenever, I listened to some old tale or story from my dad, it used to urge me to know more about these things,” he said.
When Shiva completed his tenth standard, he wanted to pursue something in tourism so that he could be a representative of Hampi. “I wanted to work in Hampi, so that I can work as well as give time to my family. I got to know about this four-month tourism course and later did it. I become a certified tour guide for Hampi. I was always curious to get more and more knowledge about the place,” he said.
Earlier before the diploma, Shiva used to work with his uncle who is also a tour guide in Hampi. “He was also my inspiration to do this thing. With him, I worked for five years and learnt how and what to convey to travellers. Later, I worked on my English and got a hold of the language. It has been seven years since I have been working as a tour guide. I enjoy every day of my work,” he said with a broad smile.
Shiva says that he has a simple rule to follow, first see his service and what all he is giving and then pay. “I’m a very straight forward person when it comes to my profession. This has helped me develop,” he added.
How has tourism helped you change?
“Tourism does affect me when it comes to my personality development and maintaining my standard of living. When I started working in this profession, I got exposure and was able to show my knowledge. This has helped me and my family in maintaining a decent living status. The best feeling for me is when I bought a dress for my little sister with my own money and she loved it. She has always helped me. Sometimes, she tells me such amazing story about places which I didn’t even know existed,” he said.
“My parents have always supported me to work hard and do something which attracts good karma. Tourism has brought many changes in my life which are developing prowess in a new language, knowledge about the outside world, behaviour and psychology of people and much more. This has always helped me in explaining the place in a more informative manner,” he said.
Have you observed any climatic changes in Hampi?
“The weather earlier used to be very pleasant and less polluted. Now since the last two years, the climate is changing constantly every year. Last year, the summers started earlier and the heat was unbearable due to the deforestation in the area. Now we don’t allow trees to be cut down for any purpose. We have started planting many trees which will keep the air clean and healthy,” he said.
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