Monday, February 17, 2014

Flowers, Flowers... Selvi's Life Is Full Of Fragrance!

Selvi!  I had been watching Selvi, the flower lady, for the past 3-4 months now.  We go for our morning walks at 5.30 am.  When we go, we see her husband setting the table with plastic sheets for his wife to place flowers on them for selling.  When we come back on the same road at about 6.15, Selvi is always there, arranging flowers for selling! I had not seen her one day and asked her what happened. She said that she missed the van that morning! Then I was curious to know about her routine...blogger nature!

She wakes up at 1 am everyday! Takes her bath and THEN have her morning tea! The van carrying women who are flower sellers, at about 2 am comes to her doorstep to pick her up.  The van takes them to the flower bazaar market.  She buys flowers for around Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 2,000 everyday, according to the demand.  She sells most on Fridays and on festival days.  She spends another thousand on those days, it seems.  She gives flowers on a daily basis to some 28 houses, regularly.  One muzham flower string (Muzham is from our middle finger tip to our elbow) of jasmine or Kadambam (string of mixed flowers) or saamandhi (butterfly says so!) costs Rs.20.  If she buys them cheap, she sells them cheap! 12 roses cost Rs.10.  My maid ties strings in the afternoon for her neighbour who is a flower seller.  She offers Rs.2 per muzham as labour charge!

Selvi, the flower vendor
Different varieties of flowers

Panneer rose (This flower has got a nice typical rose fragrance)
The panneer rose and jasmine have got fragrance, so I prefer buying them.  The pooja room will smell of roses and jasmines! Saamandhi stays fresh for nearly 2 days, so I like saamandhi too! The jasmine season has started now and when it is cheap the flowers in the strings will be closer! The cost also reduces to Rs.15.  It used to be Rs.3 or Rs. 5 earlier, even a couple of years back.   The money mostly goes to the middle men, so it is costlier now!

I noticed many honeybees on the panneer roses.  They sting her often, it seems.  She applies Vibhooti (the sacred ash) on them to contain the pain of the sting!

I asked her when she goes back in the morning.  She said that she stays at the place until 7.30.  Then keeps the table aside and leaves.  I have noticed a tender coconutwala standing there and selling coconut in daytime or somebody else.  Another lady sells flowers on the same tables in the evening! She seems to be Selvi's sister in law! Unlike Selvi, this lady's muzham, the length of the string is smaller! Selvi smiles all the time and gives extra flowers and tulsi/vilva leaves (bael leaves) also as extra helpings alongwith my routine purchase of one muzham jasmine and Rs.10 roses!).  This bonus is exclusively for regular buyers, she says!

She has got two sons.  One is studying and one is working, she said.  Her husband helps her in the morning in setting the tables here and helps her in cooking too, which information made me very happy!

I admire these people who work sincerely for their living.  They seem to be happy people!



Renu said...

yes., I also admire them for they work hard for their living ..

Sandhya said...

RENU: We have to admire them for their discipline. Getting up at 2 am everyday, is not a joke.

Thanks for the first comment, Renu!

KParthasarathi said...

A nice account of a flower seller's routine.It was a revelation that these people too do outsource the stringing part!But they must be getting good return for the effort they put.The size of muzham(cubit) is very flexible and they employ young girls to measure or bend the fingers.When you measure in your hand,you will see it is only 60% of the intended length!!The prices vary in proportion to demand.Still they do an honorable job to make a living.Your getting bonus of Tulsi and Bilva though smart is covered in the price already of samandhi,rose or jasmine!!!!

Sandhya said...

KPARTHASARATHY: I have seen women and children, some men even, sit outside their house and do the stringing. Good profit should be there for so many people taking this profession.

Yes, it is famous for sending children with flowers so that they save on measuring muzham with their small hands! But this lady's muzham is very good and the bonus too! She is a happy person always. She enquires her customers about their family, their health etc. which attracts more customers!

sm said...

requires lot of hard work
nice rose pic

Jeevan said...

What a hard worker she was, to wake up at 1 am?

Sleeping is very important to everyone and she sacrifices it for the livelihood… I admire her work dedication. Sometimes before we used to buy flowers everyday and the flower woman’s son used to deliver it every day in the morning in his cycle before leaving to school.

Destination Infinity said...

At what time does she sleep in the evening? After reading about the wake-up time requirement for flower sellers, I have decided that I will never become a flower seller!! :)

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

sm: Yes, this woman and a couple who sell vegetables on the roadside...I watch them everyday! This couple too are always there without fail. They too go to the market at 3 am! Nice people, they too are!

JEEVAN: Yes, they are hard working people. One girl brings flower to my doorstep in the morning, before going to school. Her saamandhi is always one day old, but the cost is same! I will stop her soon!

DESTINATION INFINITY: I asked her at what time she sleeps at night and she replied '9'O clock'! She doesn't get time to sleep in the afternoon also. She is used to this routine, it seems!

Other side is not green, this time for you! She might think the same!

Krishna/കൃഷ്ണ said...

interesting real story... people forget to sleep to fulfill life of their depends.


umsreflections said...

They never tire from working na...loved this real time story of Selvi !!
And those paneer roses are my fav too...such fragrance :)
Nice pics too Sandhya !

Sandhya said...

KRISHNA: Yes, Krishna!

UMS REFLECTIONS: I always buy panneer rose if it is there. The pooja room smells good with roses and jasmine! Thank you, Uma!

Rahul Bhatia said...

This is the reality that most people work hard and earn a honest living for others, Sandhya!Thanks to many such people who bring cheer in our life!

Priya Anandakumar said...

Loads of hard work, discipline and awesome people around us....

Crafty Shines said...

A unique post, this one, SandyaMa.

And hat's off to Selvi and her kinds who are diligent.

And you don't need an MBA to understand customer value and how to keep them coming back :)

Does she know you have written about her? Wouldn't she love it? :D

Sandhya said...

RAHUL BHATIA: Yes, these people make our planet liveable!

PRIYA ANANDAKUMAR: Yes, unsung hero/heroines! Thanks for all the comments, Priya!

CRAFTY SHINES: No, she doesn't know about this post! She was feeling shy when I took her picture! I know her for sometime now and always admire her for her discipline! She has got customers who are regulars for many years, it seems! No wonder!

Sai Charan said...

Beautiful post, good to know about the hard work, discipline and efforts Selvi puts into her work!!

There are lots of people across the world who work so hard but aren't making huge profits like how the business gurus do! But the best thing about these hard workers is, they are happy and content in their lives and don't worry too much about every simple thing!

There are good messages to learn from their lives, God bless Selvi and may she have more happiness and prosperity!! :)

Sai :)

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