Rajendra Sahu is 43 years old. He works as a fruit seller in Police Bazar, Shillong. He belongs to Etawah in Uttar Pradesh. He lives in Shillong city. His family lives in Etawah, a town near Kanpur city. Coming from a small town to Shillong, just to make a living out of their own business was the decision he made to survive in this world.
How and when did you start your journey in Shillong?
“Earlier in 2008, I was searching to start some business and make my living from it. I initially did a couple of small jobs in Shillong. When a hard time comes, it comes from all ways. On the first day in Shillong, I fell sick and at that time nobody was there around me. I couldn’t tell my family as they were having a difficult time as well. After getting better, I encouraged myself to look for something where I can earn my bread for the day,” he said.
Sahu started as a labourer in a construction site. He even sold some snacks on the street at evening time. “There has been a time when I used to do two to three jobs daily. All the other jobs taught me many things and broadened my view to see things. Many times I have been in phases where I have learnt something from the other person. Even though the jobs I did, I wasn’t getting anything profitable for me to save and send money to my family. One of my friends has told me to get into the business of fruit selling,” he said.
Apple and pomegranate sell any time of the year and the supply of these fruits are easily available in this region. Sahu said he saw the possibility of getting into this business. He figured things and started his journey. Now he is getting a good amount of profit.
Has tourism helped you in any way?
“Yes, tourism helps the people in Police Bazar to get a better business. Local consumer also helps the community to get business. Whenever the season starts, we get a lot of crowd from outside who buys different things around. With tourism, I learned many things such as interacting with people. I get some knowledge whenever I talk to people coming from outside.
The major changes happening around Shillong is it’s culture and the lifestyle of people seeing the outside culture and adapting it. I’m not a person who belongs to Shillong but I can see the changes happening over here in terms of tradition as well as modern techniques of selling commodities,” he said.
Sahu says many tourists come and take fruit as a souvenir. “I found this place really genuine and totally good because fruits are really pure. Mostly everywhere you will find processed ones.”
Did you observe any climatic changes here?
“Yes, it’s been 10 years since I’ve been staying in Shillong. When I came here, the city used to be much cooler as compared to what it happens to be right now. Locals have told me, that earlier in winters there used to be snow in Shillong. Now the place only gets chilly winter air. During summers, the place used to have pleasant weather where people could enjoy the cool environment.
What is winter now, used to be summer temperature. Now the winter is there but not that much. Due to more usage of vehicles, the air quality gets affected. This all happens because of commercialization in the area. People come and go, that’s fine but it becomes a problem when they litter around and make the place dirty. That’s the major drawback of tourism in the area. I hope tourists sense these things so that they don’t affect the ecosystem here,” he ended.
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