Author: Shail Raghuvanshi

A Knife for Life!

Two women, Ria and Shanta Bai, belonging to different economic strata, do not just work in the same office. Piquantly their lives have many parallels too. Ria, a divorcee, and Shanta Bai, a widow, have similar challenges. Find out how Shanta Bai inspired Ria to deal with life, in the short story by Shail, as […]

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Kedar Basha Sharpens Knives and Lives without Remorse

A native of Harichandrapuram village, in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu, around 62km from Chennai, Kadar Basha has been a knife sharpener for the past 30 years. Pragmatic and down to earth, he began sharpening knives as a boy. His grandfather was a pious and charitable man, who donated four acres of land for a mosque. Whatever remained […]

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Life is Hard for Amudha but she is Tender like the Coconuts she Sells!

It’s scary to see the bike riders in black coloured clothes in the backdrop of the Jallikattu protests in Chennai. Unfazed by all this is Amudha, who sells tender coconuts on the wayside. Despite the hardships of life, she is not a bitter cynic. She plans for the future and also splurges. For her younger son’s wedding, she spent […]

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Despite Hearing Disability Kadar ekes out a Living Selling Socks

Life is not easy for 61-year old Kadar. Though he is neither sad nor depressed, asking about his hearing disability is a delicate task. He lost his hearing ability at around six years, when his father had slapped him hard. He avoided his father for the rest of his life. He had a shop in Burma Bazar for […]

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Broken and Lonely, Raju, the Vegetable Seller, Loves Crows

Thirty-six-year-old Raju, a vegetable seller, is lonely and broken. He was blamed for theft by his cousin, who was later caught red–handed, and lost his job. His wife was poisoned by his sister-in- law and she left him. He tries hard to make both ends meet, caring for his aged father. He wishes a child to call him […]

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Bamboo Weaving, a Dying Craft, Makes Life Difficult for Gopi

Fifty-two-year- old Gopi had been working on a Chennai sidewalk for the past 30 years. Maybe, the tree that was a part of his handmade work hanging on one of its branches, witnessed the ups and downs in this bamboo weaver’s business. A native of Chennai, he inherited traditional family business from his father. There is hardly any work these days. A lone man, carrying of a business that is a thing of the past, shows how things have changed. Shail profiles life on the streets, in the regular column, exclusively for Different Truths.

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Mohammed Rubin: He Journeys from Riches to Rags with Grace!

Fifty-two-year-old Mohammed Rubin runs a wayside eatery in a small kiosk. He says that he wasn’t always in the eatery business. For 15 years he worked in Saudi Arabia, in the shipping business. When he returned to India, in 2013, he decided to start some business. For almost three years, he suffered. Whichever business he did, failed. It […]

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Life is no Magic Carpet for Salman in a Faraway Land!

Twenty-eight-year-old Salman is from Bhadohi, in East Uttar Pradesh. He was just 8-year-old, when he came to Chennai with his father. He and his six brothers are all in the business of selling carpets and rugs, a business that their father did. But, life is a faraway land is difficult. Though he had little education, he has […]

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The Life and Times of an Unknown Flower Seller and a Spirit Healer, Banumathy

At 45 years, Banumathy is grandmother of seven grandchildren. A native of Madurai is one of a kind. She is not just a flower seller; she is a spirit healer, who until a few years back would suddenly flare up in religious processions and become possessed with the Devi (goddess). She would help people possessed with evil spirits […]

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Life on Pavements: Memory and Instinct helps Mahalingam understand Books

Very few people are able to give back to society what they never got from it. Mahalingam, as this 68-year- old second-hand bookseller, is known, studied only till class three. But he understands books instinctively. His memory is his saviour. He can read 20% of the books’ covers. He says, “I am able to sell books at cheap […]

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