My name is Vaishali. My father is a vegetable-seller. My whole family Amma, Bhaiya, Chhotu and I, help him with his work. Can you guess at what time we begin our work? At 3 o’clock in the morning.
When most people are fast asleep, we start our work. Our day’s work begins when Babuji, Amma, Bhaiya and I take out the previous day’s vegetables from the gunny bags and baskets. This is to prepare for bringing the fresh vegetables from the mandi.
Sometimes Chhotu also helps us. As we finish doing this and are having some tea, we hear the horn of the tempo. It is time for Babuji , Bhaiya , Chachu (uncle) and some others from our street to leave for the mandi.
Preparing for the Day
While Babuji is a way, Amma, Chhotu and I put the previous day’s vegetables on gunny bags, and sprinkle some water on them. By 6.30 a.m. Babuji is back from the mandi with baskets and sacks full of fresh
At that time our house looks more like a small vegetable market! There are brinjals, potatoes, tomatoes, okra (Bhindi), pumpkin, gourds, chillies and many other vegetables all around.
Everybody helps in sorting the vegetables. The vegetables which are not fully ripe and ready to sell are kept aside. We have to sort the vegetables fast, so as to reach thebazaar as early as possible.
By 7 o’clock, Babuji arranges all the vegetables on the handcart and leaves for the bazaar. He says that if he is late, then his regular buyers may buy
their vegetables from someone else. As soon as Babuji leaves, I quickly get ready as I have to reach school by 7.30 a.m.
In the Bazaar
Chhotu attends school in the afternoon. He rests for a while and goes to the bazaar later with food for Babuji and Bhaiya. He stays with them at the vegetable cart, until it is time for him to go to school.
Sometimes he goes back after school to help Babuji. Babuji tries to see that the previous day’s vegetables are sold first.
As the previous day’s vegetables get sold, Bhaiya takes out fresh vegetables from the sacks and puts them in the cart. He also keeps sprinkling water on the vegetables so that they do not dry up, especially in summers.
Babuji and Bhaiya return home, after a long day, only around 10 o’clock at night. By then Chhotu and I are asleep. Everyone else sleeps around 11 or 11.30 at night. And at 3 o’clock next morning – only four hours later – our family is up again. Another day has begun!
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