The hawkers on the trains of The Indian Railways – “Sapno ke saudagar”

While on a train, one gets a lot of time to think, to observe, to absorb, to reflect. So am I, right now. For a change , the hurried pace of my life has come to a standstill, and I’ve been granted these eight hours of ‘mental’ freedom , and my mind can now wander off .

Blogging while on a train is fun. The fast pace, and the rhythmic movement allows you to relax. The ever changing landscape outside the window keeps you giving new fodder for thought. And who can forget the hawkers?
The formidable, ever smiling, the superb seller without an MBA degree, who is redefining marketing rules on a daily basis. Yes, you got it right.

This blogpost is dedicated to the hawkers who sell their stuff on the trains of The Indian Railways everyday.

These are brave men. Undetered by unemployment, these glorious souls have chosen to be their own bosses and shell out every possible item to passengers on a train. And they are as antique as the 150year old Indian Railways. The brave decision taken by them has stood them in good stead, corroborating the age old adage that “fortune favours the brave”. Out of nothing, these sellers on tracks make a living – “Jhal muri, badam, roti sabji, cheap Chinese goods, pen drives, nail cutters etc, bread omlette, yoghurt, the very familiar pitha, pan supari, biscuits, tobacco and what not”. Its hard to believe these trifles can support four meals in a day. But they do. And more than supporting meals, they are also enough for them to run their families decently, to send their children to school, to buys gifts for the wife.

Its always been my firm belief that you don’t need an MBA degree to sell stuff. And the hawkers just strengthen my belief. How they sell their trifles to the argumentative, bargaining Indian on a train, is but a mystery that needs some decoding. Given the fact that there are some jokers on train, who just love to play with them, by needlessly checking their stuff, without any intention of actually buying. With time, the hawkers even master the skill of distinguishing the actual buyer from these jokers. Innovative catch lines, trustworthy voice, better product line – these are all innovations these guys bring in day in, day out, to survive the rat race. And what suprises me the most, is that most of these guys have very litte, or are totally bereft of formal education. They just sell using their common sense. With some formal training, I’m confident they would’ve been able to sell packaged milk even to a cow!

Of late, I’ve developed a lot of respect for these people. Out of schools , colleges, without any jobs, they could’ve easily strayed into the wrong , dark alleys of crime and militancy. But they didn’t . They chose the harder way out and they’re doing well today, and I salute them for this brave choice.

Tum se hai Indian Railways!!!

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2 comments on “The hawkers on the trains of The Indian Railways – “Sapno ke saudagar”

  1. I’m not sure why but this web site is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

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