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Tuck Shop

GowrammaIt's a makeshift operation with no permanent structure. From under the tree, besides the small temple guarded by statues of policemen and horses, Gowramma sells snacks and other tit-bits. The thatched roof patched up with plastic sheets in various colours serves the purpose of an attention getter as also protects her from the hot sun. And her customers aren't the school children who couldn't afford to indulge in 'tuck shop treats'. It's the passers-by who stop over and perhaps pick up a packet of crispy or if hungry enough, settle down for a plate of steamed rice cakes.

Gowramma was once a door-to-door saleswoman but two major stomach operations settled the issue. Besides, she's old now and hasn't the energy. Mother of six children - four daughters and two sons - Gowramma and her aged husband survive on whatever they earn from the shop. The offspring have their own problems and she's happy staying away from their domestic squabbles.

All six children studied in this school. All till class eight. All dropped out because she couldn't afford further education. "With eight class education all four daughters got good grooms, so that's good enough," says Gowramma. Class eight is when the wheel comes full circle. Period.

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