A new beginning for Marina beach traders

Himalayan News Service

Chennai, January 5:

On the famed Marina beach, the vendors are back with a bang.

Following the tsunami disaster on December 26, vendors selling popcorn, peanuts, tea and coffee, cold drinks, fried snacks, shells and souvenirs had become conspicuous by their absence on the beachfront. The hundreds of stalls that did brisk business every single day simply disappeared. Now, following the start of restoration work and with the beach open to the public again, traders have been allowed to sell their wares. Said Rajendran, who has a souvenir stall. “It is a relief to be able to return to work,” he added. Rajendran recalled that the last time he did brisk business was on Christmas day.

“The next day the tsunami took away everything I had. The closure of business since then has hit us hard.” Said K Selvan, a resident of Triplicane, “Vendors used to lock their goods in boxes and leave it overnight on the beach. When the tsunami struck, they lost all their goods.” The goods were either washed away or buried under the sand.

Raghu, a rag picker, said he and his friends found watches, bangles and other trinkets by scouring the sand once the waves receded. Popcorn-seller Sivam smiled at the children frolicking once again on the sands. “Normally, I would have made Rs 100 Indian Currency (IC) by noon, but so far my earning has been only Rs15 IC. I hope to make up soon,” Sivam said. At the winding Marina beach, it is business as usual — almost.