Fish seller


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My name is Yeramma, and I am 50-years old. I was born and raised in Visakhapatnam. I got into the business of selling fish and other seafood when I was ten years old. My mother used to sell fish near the beach in mid-1970s. I skipped my school to accompany my mother. In spite of my parents continuous efforts to make me a good student, they failed to convert me. I would have been in different socio-economic status, if I had listened to my parents.

Right from our initial days, since our family has never had fishermen or fisherwomen, we buy the stock and sell them in the market. Most of the vendors in this market do the same. Earlier we used to sell at the beach itself, but twenty years ago we moved to inner market. There is a lot of difference in the price and quality of the fish from forty years back when I started. For example, the same fish which used to be ₹5 when I started, now sells at around ₹150. As the prices of all other commodities have increased, so did the fish. But the fish we used to get earlier used to be much bigger in size. This is because most of the fish we currently sell are from lakes, not from the sea. Even now, the fish from the sea are costlier than the ones from the lake, because the former are tastier.

On Sundays, when we have a lot of customers, I sell at least ten varieties of fish in addition to prawns and crabs. Sundays and Tuesdays are the busiest. I generally bring an assistant from our family or relatives to help me during the peak timings. We store the fish inice, and keep it for three to four days before discarding them if not sold.

My husband goes for daily wage jobs such as construction work and carpentry. The tool that I use to remove the fish scales, has nails pierced into a piece of wood, was made by him. Both of our incomes are of great importance to run our home. It becomes difficult when there is a cyclone. We face troubles during the monsoon as well. I have three daughters, all of them are married. The eldest daughter has two sons and a daughter, the second daughter has two sons, and the youngest one has a son and is currently pregnant. All the people associated with selling seafood pray to Karaka Chettu Polamamba Temple. The idol in the temple was found by fishermen while they went fishing in the sea, more than four hundred years ago, and now it is a big temple.

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