What are you doing with all that wire?


Where there’s muck there’s brass (a British saying that means there is money to be made from other people’s waste), but realising wealth from rubbish is a really tough gig for many Dilliwalahs.

Rag picking is not a job that you want to do.

Men and boys rummaging though waste on the roadside and in dhalaos (community waste bins) looking for something to sell is as grim as it sounds.   Sadly, it’s a fairly common sight.

I try to take a few minutes out to say hello whenever I come across a rag picker.  A simple hello, a how are you and a bit of interaction brightens up my day. I hope it brings a smile to those that I talk to too.  Or at least a laugh.  After all, they get a chance enjoy my lame attempts at the Hindi language.

Anyhow, this is how I met father and son in this photograph.  Around the back of the Hamuman Mandir, Connaught Place, they were busy stripping wire and smashing up anything that contained metal.

They are part of a family unit that been working out of the same spot for the past 25 years.  The ten members of the family take any metal that comes their way.

Mixed metal wire is with worth 90 INR a kilo, but the prized asset is copper which commands 350 INR a kilo.  That’s why there’s lots of wire lying around waiting to be stripped.  Everyone is hoping that copper will lie beneath the plastic cover.

We had a ladoo together, sipped some chai and shared a few moments.  It was then back to wire stripping for father and son and time for me to go on my way – taking care to avoid the monkeys who have been fed far too well around the Hanuman (monkey god) Mandir.

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