Guwahati: A second-hand Vespa scooter has become the source of livelihood for Kyntiewim Kharbuli and her family, residents of Meghalaya capital Shillong. The lady sells betel nuts and leaves at a corner in Motphran.
Iewduh market in Shillong, one of the buzziest locales in the city, is the original area where womenfolk used to sell the trademark Meghalayan betel nuts and leaves; however, the market is being kept closed owing to the rampant spread of the coronavirus disease. Now, Kharbuli uses the old scooter as a stand or shop on which she lays out her wares for purchase.
Thus, the second-hand Vespa has become an important component of their petty business. Kharbuli has disclosed to mediapersons that the scooter originally belongs to her husband and the duo departs for their home in the evening after the work is over.
The coronavirus-induced lockdown, she revealed, has hampered the family's profits. While earlier she used to earn anywhere between Rs. 2,000-3,000, now she struggles to earn Rs. 500 daily.
Kharbuli, who originally hails from Nongkrem, has moved to Upper Malka where she stays with her husband and four daughters.
Kharbuli's husband, Anthony Syiemlieh, is currently helping his friend man a parking lot and there is no regular income.
Underlining the importance of the scooter in their lives, Syiemlieh said that he comes with his wife on scooter at 8 am daily to the market. He procures the bulk of betel nuts and leaves from Garikhana or Mawlai. The Shillong couple leaves Mothphran at 8 pm.
The man bought the scooter, a very old model (which might be termed as a "classic), for 15,000 bucks nine years ago. But it had already changed many hands prior to that.
Kharbuli says that her eldest daughter has passed her Class 12 board exams from the prestigious St. Anthony's, and she has to save money to enable her daughter to study medicine so that she can become a doctor or a nurse.
Although the 3 others are younger – studying in Classes 10, 5, and playschool – the mother wishes to give quality education to them so that they can hope for better and brighter days. For now, they will have to depend on the scooter.