Before Sunday, life had never been so busy for the 72-year-old typist Krishna Kumar. Used to an otherwise mundane routine, Kumar was surrounded by cameras zooming in to click pictures of his new typewriter, media persons queuing up to take his interview and people offering him financial assistance.
Lucknow resident Kumar, 65, shot to fame after pictures of his typewriter damaged by a policeman went viral on social media on Saturday. Taking note of the incident, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav asked senior officers to suspend the errant cop, sub-inspector Pradeep Kumar, and provide a new typewriter to Kumar.
Kumar said the officials had assured him that “there will be no problem in future”. He has been working daily on the pavement outside the General Post Office for more than eight hours a day, typing matter in Hindi for people on his old typewriter to eke out a meagre living.
For over three decades, Kumar has been following the same routine. After getting ready in the morning, he leaves his house with his typewriter and takes his place outside the GPO.
However, leaving the house without his Remington (old typewriter) for the first time in 30 years, Kumar was an anxious man on Sunday.
He shared an emotional connect with the typewriter that was not only his source of income but also helped him purchase a house in Gomti Nagar’s Viram Khand.
“I am glad that the government understood how valuable the typewriter is for me and decided to give me a new one. But since this is a new model, I still have to get accustomed to the hard keys,” said Kumar.
“There have been anti-encroachment drives in the past as well, but no one misbehaved with me. Cops would politely ask us to vacate the place,” he says.
However, Kumar goes on to say that he doesn’t hold any grudge and has forgiven the cop who broke his typewriter.
Despite working hard from 10am to 6pm, Kumar barely manages to earn Rs 50-100 per day. His 35-year-old son runs a general merchant shop in his house, but he never thought of quitting the profession.
“During the ‘golden’ days before arrival of computers, people saw me as a skilled man. Sometimes, there used to be a queue of customers, not leaving me a single minute to spare. But once, people started using computers, our business was badly hit,” said Kumar.
“Nowadays, sometimes I get a customer or two but on some days not even a single customer turns up. Several people quit typing and stopped coming to GPO, which was once a hub of typists. But I couldn’t imagine quitting this profession,” he added.