This is N. Thiruvenkatam (Thiru) from the south Indian city of Trichy. He belongs to the Tamil Konar community. Born in 1953 he is the 4th generation living in his ancestral home which he has partially converted into a petty shop that he runs for his livelihood.
His father ran a dairy business reselling milk and other dairy products. Thiru started off his work life selling milk door to door on foot at the age of 15. Due to his illness and not being an astute businessman his father could not keep the business going. This saw his family struggling to make ends meet.
On completing his schooling he joined a dry cleaning company managing the day to day operations and working there for 18 years. During the last few years in the company he started a small business in partnership with a few friends and family members making envelopes and other office stationery. This business did not go too far with the partners disagreeing and falling into loses. With the urge to do something on his own he then started a laundry business at home while still working at the dry cleaners. Though not financially sound he managed to get the business off the ground by getting a loan from a bank. He bought all the machinery and even employed two people to help him run the place. He managed to get a few contracts to begin with and the going was good. However this business too did not last too long. Owing to unreliable employees and the fact that the clothes started getting stolen, he had to shut the business within a years time of starting it.
At around the same time he left his job at the dry cleaners due to the meagre salary with which he was not able to support his new family. He got a final settlement of RS 12000/-. With this and his savings of about Rs 70000/- he again went about thinking of various businesses to start.
He had to decide between a flour mill, a rice shop and a petty shop. He choose the petty shop and opened it selling items like newspapers, magazines, cigarettes, sweets, biscuits and other items. In order to cut corners and get the best value for money he always bought everything wholesale. To get that extra margin he went around to do the wholesale shopping on his bicycle rather than a bike thus saving on the fuel cost. He had run the shop for about 12 years when suffered a heart attack and had to shut the business for a whole year. He reopened the business but is not able to manage it single handedly as before. His hardships continue but he tries to ignore them exuding optimism for the future. He dreams of the day when he will own his own eatery serving cheap and honest food to the common man.
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