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TBI Invisible Heroes Of Everyday: Roadside Sellers Of PoP Dreams


As we drive around on city streets and national highways, we have often caught sight of brightly coloured statues and other items laid out on footpaths or hanging from tree branches. But how often have we stopped to ask the sellers, not the price, but about their lives? Where do they come from? Do they make enough for a comfortable living? Tejaswi did stop and ask. Take a peek into their lives today, and tell us what you find out the next time.

As we drive on the NH5 passing through Vizag city, we can see these lovely works of art on both sides of the road. There are flower pots, chandeliers, statues, cutlery – anything and everything you can make out of PoP – Plaster of Paris. The creative yet very poor nomads from the Thar Desert eke out a living by making these wonderful works of art as they travel around India.



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I asked them, why cant you stay at one place? And this is what Rani, mother of 4 and the painter in the family said,

India is our home, and we’ve never had that idea of being stuck in a place, this is how we live. We will be in Vizag till Ganesh Chaturti to sell Ganesha statues and then leave.”


You can find Rani and many others like her scattered all along highways in India selling wonderful things that will surely brighten your home.

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They earn about Rs.1000 everyday. It might sound like a lot, but for a family of 8, with lots of cash invested as capital for buying materials, bribing policeman and municipal officials who come more often than not, this money is barely enough to survive. Yet, they lead a self-sufficient life, happy to let their children go to a tutor or small private schools, for they stay at one place for 6 months at a stretch.


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These people’s existence and their nomadic way of live is something of an adventure, everyday. But, that is how they’ve been, for hundreds of years, and it is for us and the Government to understand their needs and help them survive in modern India.


See more Invisible Heroes of Everyday here.

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About the author and photographer: Tejaswi Bhagavatula is a Hyderabad-based writer, poet, painter, biker, photographer, corporate profile-writer, on-the-way-CA, part-time tax consultant – all to fund his passion for travelling! He wishes to work for change through bringing out stories and his dream is to ride to Ladakh on his dear old Bullet, while learning and writing about people he meets all along the way and someday, maybe make it a storybook.


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