Thursday May 19, 2022
Thursday May 19, 2022

Setting the wheels in motion

From vegetable vendors to scrap dealers, cycles have helped many survive


Nepalnews
2021 Apr 25, 16:18, Kathmandu
Bijay Chaudhary who is a scrap collector on his way to work Photo: Prasan Gurung

When people go through difficult times in their lives they devise different means to overcome their hardships. Be it with their studies or work or any other facet of life, people are always looking to generate new ideas so as to be able to do things in a better way and manage their lives in a more meaningful manner.

“I previously used to work in a garage as a mechanic but my employer there never used to pay me on time,” says Shivaram Suwal from Bhaktapur who manages two shops at present. “Every day I used to go to the garage and I would be literally staring at a bleak future,” he reminisces, adding, “I knew that if I worked there longer I would amount to nothing.”

Shivaram Suwal who is the owner and Mechanic of bicycle shop doing his job

Photo: Prasan Gurung
Shivaram Suwal who is the owner and Mechanic of bicycle shop doing his job Photo: Prasan Gurung
Shivaram Suwal repairing bicycle 

Photo: Prasan Gurung
Shivaram Suwal repairing bicycle Photo: Prasan Gurung

Suwal shares that instead of working for someone else he then decided to open his own business. Currently, he owns a shop where he sells bicycles and has also opened another which specialises in repairing bicycles. “I have now been involved in this business for 40 years and over the years I have seen the use of bicycles rising tremendously,” he mentions. Suwal adds that at one point of time bicycles were considered a poor man’s means of transportation but at the moment there are bicycles that cost huge amounts of money.

“Bicycles have become a source of income for many people in Nepal whether it be selling or repairing them or using them to conduct other businesses like the vegetable vendors or scrap dealers who have become ubiquitous on the streets of Kathmandu,” states Suwal.

A child waiting for his bicycle to be repaired

Photo: Prasan Gurung
A child waiting for his bicycle to be repaired Photo: Prasan Gurung

“My bicycle is my main source of income,” reveals Bijay Chaudhary, who is originally from Bihar but resides in Kalopati of Bhaktapur at present. Chaudhary, who is also known as ‘Kawadi Sahu’ in his locality, shares that he deals in scrap materials. “I used to work in my native place previously but the pay was so low and never on time, so I decided to look for other avenues,” he states. 

Bijay Chaudhary collecting the scrap 

Photo: Prasan Gurung
Bijay Chaudhary collecting the scrap Photo: Prasan Gurung
Bijay Chaudhary dealing with the customers 

Photo: Prasan Gurung
Bijay Chaudhary dealing with the customers Photo: Prasan Gurung

Chaudhary reveals that he then decided to migrate to Kathmandu in search of work. “I realised that the scrap business was pretty good so I got involved in it,” he says, adding, “Every day I roam around the streets of Kathmandu on my bicycle collecting whatever scrap material I can lay my hands on.” He divulges that he earns around Rs 10,000 a month on average which is just enough to make ends meet and send his children to school.

“My bicycle has been like a saviour for me. It is the only means of commute that I have,” Chaudhary says.

Bijay Chaudhary who is a scrap collector on his way to work

Photo: Prasan Gurung
Bijay Chaudhary who is a scrap collector on his way to work Photo: Prasan Gurung

Meanwhile, Nandu Kumar, who is a cycle vendor from Dallu in Kathmandu, says he started this profession when he was 15 years old. “It has been 10 years now and in all these years my bicycle has been my constant companion,” he adds. “Every morning I go to Balkhu and buy fruits and vegetables from the agriculture market there and from 8 in the morning till 8 in the night I cycle my way around residential areas selling my goods,” he states.

It may sound exaggerated but my bicycle has not only been a means to earn a living but also given me freedom, says Kumar. “I do not have stay cooped up in one place as I have my bicycle.”

Nandu Kumar selling fruits to the customers 

Photo: Prasan Gurung
Nandu Kumar selling fruits to the customers Photo: Prasan Gurung
Nandu Kumar, a cycle vendor sitting on a Shade 

Photo: Prasan Gurung
Nandu Kumar, a cycle vendor sitting on a Shade Photo: Prasan Gurung
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