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A little of everything

Solomoni Biumaiono
Thursday, January 03, 2013

RAHUL Ravi Kumar is very knowledgeable on how to look after watermelons when they are being sold at the market.

He knows that watermelons do love to be pampered and as Kumar puts it, "you need to treat them like children. If it rains, you keep them inside the house".

In fact he is knowledgeable about a few other things too.

The 22-year-old from Nakasi is selling watermelons at the Bailey bridge at Jerusalem/Nokonoko roads junction alongside friends with neighbour, 17-year-old Rajneel Chand.

Selling watermelons is Kumar's job at the moment as he hops from job to job throughout the year to earn a living.

"Apart from selling watermelons, I also know a bit about mechanics and I have also worked in car washes and also worked as a grass cutter. I also do other jobs where I earn money for my family," Kumar said.

He said he was forced to leave school in Form Three because his older brother contracted diabetes and he had to earn to support his family.

"I have forgotten the year it happened but I left school because of family problems when my brother had diabetes," Kumar said.

Coming from a family with five brothers and two sisters, it was not hard for Kumar to make up his mind as he has his family at heart. And he has ever since been hopping from job to job because he is not qualified and yet his determination to cobble together a livelihood from these odd jobs has endured.

"I would rather be selling this and doing other jobs than going to do a robbery for money," Kumar said bluntly. "It is better that I struggle like this than to do robbery.

"I am doing what is it I can do to help my family out and make sure that we're OK and I would say that is better than to go and kerekere (beg) there, kerekere there," Kumar said.

He has plans to get married soon but his first priority is to build his own home and he is saving as much as he can in order to achieve his aim.

"Yes but getting married is not good for me right now. I don't want my children to be struggling but I really want a place of my own," Kumar said.

His friend, the 17-year-old Chand says he is accompanying Kumar because it's the holidays and he wanted a job to keep himself occupied. The Form Five student is sacrificing his holidays accompanying Kumar to the Bailey bridge.

Since Christmas they have to get up very early to go to their boss's place before they have to be at the market by eight or nine each morning.

With the southern hemisphere summer weather in Fiji, Kumar said the melons had been selling like hot cakes since Christmas.Whenever it rains he knows they're going to take less money home.

"Selling these melons depends a lot on the weather because if the sun is shining we know plenty people will buy, but if it's raining that is a bad day for us and that is one thing too, melons don't like the rain.

"They have to be put inside the house and kept there. Many times we have to throw melons away because they have gone bad because of the rain," Kumar said.

His knowledge is near to that of a farmer as he knows a bit of everything. A jack-of-all-trades indeed.

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