My wife has a big problem with knives. No matter how good the knives she buys they become blunt within few months. There are around 10 knives gathered in the kitchen and there is no point in buying new ones as well because they too will have the same fate as the old ones very soon. Due to this problem I have been deprived of any green leaves at the meal because she says the leaves cannot be cut because the knives are blunt. I think that is how she coveys the message that I have to get the knives sharpened at my earliest.
Luckily, today we heard a young man shouting “පිහිය මුවාත්” (I sharpen knives) along the road opposite our home. My wife was excited and I asked the guy to come in and he came to the gate hurriedly.
My wife brought the heap of knives and before getting the job done she started bargaining the price as usual. The boy agreed to do two bigger knives at 100 LKR per one and the rest of the small lot for 300 LKR. Being prudent as ever, my wife said she will get the small lot done ONLY IF the bigger knives’ sharpness lasted long enough. I tried my best to be neutral in the business as it was good for my health.
I had a chat with the boy while his work was going on. He is Raghuwaran (16) from Hatton and has 3 younger sisters and mum and his father is dead. Sisters still go to school and mother works as a tea plucker. Since the income was not enough for the family Raghu left the school while he was at grade 8 and now does this knife sharpening job to bring an additional income for the family.
He said that he rode his push bicycle from Hatton to Kochchikade. He stayed at a relative’s place there till he completes the jobs in the area. He goes along the byroads in the area and sees if any housewives are desperate to get their old knives sharpened. I feel sorry for this guy as he too has a right for education but this is the way things go on in the highlands of the country. I am not sure at least their local politicians are keen enough to educate the younger generation in the Central Hills.
When I wanted to take some pictures of him and his work, he asked why. I said it is for my personal use and for a story to the Internet. He said there are people who take such photographs and sell on the Internet. I’m not sure from where he got such information. Yet I am happy that people of such levels too have the guts to ask why a photograph is taken rather than just being shy.