How did I start – initially, I just took little quantities of vegetables as I had little cash; then slowly, I started to take little more supplies and with time… now, I take to Dhaka 15 to 20 sacks of vegetables….
When did you start to do business?
Something like 4 years back….
What did you do before?
I didn’t work on the fields, I was in business. I do not work on the fields… I worked here and there, in the village market; I had a bit of work with turmeric, weighting it in the season, and would get money from that….
Why did you get into business, wasn’t that good?
I didn’t like to work for others anymore… I started it to earn money and get food. Previously, I was just a labourer… and now I have left that…. I do my business alone now. I didn’t take a partner either, I just buy on my own. If one day I can’t go to get goods, I’d send someone to get those for me; or if I can’t go to Dhaka, I send someone else instead. I don’t do business in partnership, it creates problems. For instance, suppose I bought the goods and he’d tell me he sold them at a different price from what he actually did – similarly, if he puts the money to buy the goods, I would tell him a different [lower] price from the price I sold those for. If there’s a profit, that will be mine – and if there’s a loss that will be mine too…
So after buying them at the village market, you transfer the goods by bus in the evening, right?
But we came in a bus today!?
Yes, but we can’t transfer the goods via bus, we have to use a truck, and pay for that.
It’s not fixed, it depends on the quantity of the goods. Yesterday, I had to pay 1000Tk for 10 sacks, that is 100Tk per sack. Again, next time it might be a little less as well… We have to go through an agent – there are agents at that corner: they take a fee from us and fix the truck.
Do you like it like this?
Yes, of course, I am travelling constantly… I mean, I used to work in the haat [village market] for some years. We have a bazar there, I used to offer my labour there. But after 2, 3 or 4 years of that job, I quit: your bhabi [sister-in-law; intending his wife] saw me carrying things there, urged me not to do that anymore. When I worked as a porter, I used to carry 100 – 150kg on my head and climb with them on to the trucks. She thought if I carried things like this, I would not live long, this is how I gave up. Since giving up, I have been carrying out this small business and now and then, in the season of turmeric, I work in the haat. Things are running so and so this way, Allah is carrying my family. The turmeric work is seasonal, it occurs in the November/December. Other than that, I only do business, I do not work at the bazar very often – I don’t work as a labourer anymore. I run my business so and so. I roam around and eat. Business keeps me active, I come and go. I like it.
Really, but isn’t it a very stressful work?
Why should I get tensed, Allah will take care. Is there any good in being tensed? Suppose I got tensed, then he takes me away, can I do anything? …I really like to do business. I may have set up a shop, but I could not settle there. If I sat there, I felt my body is not active, I got back pains. I really tried to sit there, but I could not do it, so I quit. I need to be on the move. If I stay on the run, my body stays fit. In fact, if I don’t work or do business for one month, my body will be inactive; whereas doing business keeps my body fit. See, I go to the bazar, I go to the haat and I will drink a tea, won’t I? If I go to Dhaka I will drink a tea, in Goalanda-more I’ll drink a tea and nothing more. My body remains fit when it’s on run. This is what I like.
There are many other markets in Dhaka, why did you choose Mirpur?
I went to Savar, Mirpur, Kawran Bazar, then to Byphel….I have sold vegetables in these places as well.
But nowadays you go to Mirpur only, why?
Yes, I like it there. I like the behaviour of the people there, it’s easier to sell things there; so I go there.
Did you face problems in Kawran Bazar [Dhaka’s central market]?
Yes, I had problems there. I brought my goods there but I couldn’t find any transportation to get off there; in Mirpur, the market’s near to the highway, I reach there quickly and quickly sell the goods. Just think, before you came I had already sold most of my vegetables: I had carried 10 sacks and as you saw, very few were left when you arrived – not even one sack was left. So, it is a lot easier for me: in a very short time, I can sell most of my goods. In Kawran Bazar I couldn’t sell all my goods, unless staying till 3 in the morning…..I can’t get home that late. In Mirpur, see, I started at 6 and was done by 10: this is why Mirpur is more convenient for me. Also consider: I could go to Savar, for instance, but there are less customers there, so less profit – and thus I would have to stay there for longer hours.