Delhiwale: Behind the ice-cream cart
Thirty-year-old Bimal has come to Delhi to sell ice-creams. His earns a meagre sum, sleeps in a depot and misses his family.delhi Updated: Jul 17, 2017 11:03 IST
No birds in the scorching sky. “If it gets very hot, I feel tempted to have an orange bar,” he says, “But I need to sell these ice creams, not eat them.”
Bimal, 30, is one of the thousands of ice-cream vendors who take over the streets of Delhi in the summer. We meet him in KK Birla Lane, a tree-lined avenue off Max Mueller Marg. At 11am, Bimal parks his cart opposite the Alliance Française de Delhi. At 6pm, he pedals the cart to the bus stop on Max Mueller Marg where he stays till 11 at night.
“My wife Suman lives with my parents at our village in UP,” he says. “I cannot support her in Delhi.”
Bimal’s cart is painted yellow. It has posters advertising various ice creams. “I was a construction labourer in Punjab where I earned ₹200 a day. Suman lived with me. Six months ago, I left for Delhi. She returned to the village.”
Bimal’s locket bears the image of goddess Durga and a clay idol of lord Shiva is tied to his cart. “I earn less in Delhi,” he says. He gets 14 per cent of the sales and has to sleep in a depot along with 30 other reri-wallas.
Three girls come out of Alliance Française. Talking loudly in English, they stand under the shade of a tree. Resting both arms on his cart, Bimal says, “Sometimes I earn so little that I am unable to send money home.”
Hot wind blows dust into our eyes. “My son will soon turn one and I have no money,” he says. “Nothing is in my control.”