For Arulnanthi, this meant the provision of an air-compressor and machines for vulcanizing and stitching rubber. Training from the Industrial Development Board updated his skills and helped him plan ahead.
Today, he earns between Rs.1000 – Rs. 1,500 a day. A complete overhaul of bicycle takes him around 3 days to complete, but he has additional business from cars and auto-rickshaws that come to get air pumped into their wheels.
Expanding his bike business
He has ambitions to expand his services to include bike maintenance. He would also like to start stocking spare parts like tubes and tires, making him a one stop shop for his customers. A bureaucratic tangle has meant that the land still does not have electricity connection, but Arulnanthi has asked for credit support to lock down the Rs.50,000 ($320) he needs. “When I receive that the machinery using electricity can be properly utilized.”
Four months in, the new business is slowly gaining a loyal clientele. Arulnanthi takes his earnings back home to his wife Sashikala and his son Abish. “I want my child to have a good future,” says Arulnanthi.
Money can’t buy happiness
Arulnanthi says he has found a kind of peace in this new work. His little shop overlooks a busy lane, and new customers discover him every day. “I can also work at night, if I need to,” he says, explaining that the flexible hours are a bonus. The income is enough to let his family thrive. “I know I am not fully experienced at this job yet,” he says, “but it gives me happiness.” The work is simple, and keeps his hands occupied. “There is no tension,” says Arulnanthi, smiling.