They present a quaint picture — sitting side by side at the cash counter of their small restaurant in Sirkazhi town (famous for its straw mats), about 260 km from Chennai.
V Ranganathan (87) and his wife Mangalam (82) have been doing this job together for the past 10 years, after a stroke paralysed his right hand. As customers spell out what they have eaten, he makes a quick calculation and Mangalam collects the cash and hands back the change.
"We have been running this place for the last 40 years. She has been my lucky mascot and I have even named the hotel after her. After my stroke she is constantly by my side at the counter,” says Ranganathan. The crucial business decisions, however, are his, quickly adds a shy Mangalam.
Since the couple does not have any children, their nephew and niece have stepped in to help them. They do the running around and manage the staff. Asked what his turnover is, Rangnathan just smiles and replies, "Enough to lead a decent life".
The octogenarian couple also enjoys the love and support of local people. "The restaurant is known for its simple and tasty food. My day starts with breakfast and a cup of coffee there,” says cab driver Kumar.