Vijay Kumar has been riding an auto rickshaw for the past 10 years. “Initially, I was able to earn well, but now, because of competition, the earnings have gone down,” he says.
Vijay’s day starts at 6 am. He has his breakfast from food-on-wheels joints. “My favourite morning meal is idli and rice bath.” He is a vegetarian and his favourite food joints are in Malleshwaram; one is on 15th Cross and another is in front of the BJP office. The breakfast and lunch totally cost him about INR 80.
Vijay Kumar tells RJ Auto Shiv Kumar that eateries in Malleshwaram serve a variety of healthy sambar dishes with ragi balls and rice every day. “It tastes like food from my village and is unlike any other hotel’s fare!” The meals are cost-effective as well, with one ragi ball costing INR 12 and a half rice costing INR 15. “Out of all the customers who come to these eateries every day, about 75% are auto drivers. So, one can imagine how good the food tastes here.”
Srinivas has been riding his auto rickshaw for the past decade.
“Earlier, it used to be petrol or diesel, today, it’s gas,” he says, reflecting on his journey. “Even if we earn INR 1,000 a day, it is not enough to take care of the auto as well as the other expenses!”
Srinivas starts his day at 5.30 am and reaches home only at 11 pm. So, the only meal he has at home is dinner. His daily food expenses come up to INR 100 to 150. He looks around for street food places that are fairly clean and serve tasty meals. Sometimes, friends accompany them when they go out for lunch or breakfast. “A few of them do not have an income, so we pay for their meals. That adds to that day’s expense for us.”
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