Actupondy, the Guide to Pondicherry

A universal service

jeune laitierThe picture that will come involuntary at the mind of a European when you'll speak to him about a milk seller will certainly be one of a little boy. A little boy smiling on one of these black-and-white postcards of another time, which re-appears sometimes in our daily life as an example of our previous generations' life. The little boy is now far away of our contemporary period. In Europe the milk sellers are now managers of company, and their tens of cows are mechanically treated several times a day to increase their productivity to the maximum. In India as in several developing countries, certain tracks of this past are always present.

The Indian dairy production is mainly the fact of small producers and landless farmers. When we know that India is the first world producer of milk since several years, the phenomenon lets think about the millions of individuals who live of it. Although women are also a vital element of the dairy trade, it's in general the man who is highlighted. The price boom considerably slowed down the official domestic consumption; the informal market strengthens stronger as a consequence.

Focus on Ramasamy

traite vacheGrizzled hair and badly cut beard, glasses on his eyes, Ramasamy gets dressed popularly. A white and blue striped shirt on the trunk and the inevitable cream colour longhi around the waist, he strides the streets of Pondicherry on his grey scooter to deliver the daily milk to his customers. At forty-nine years old, Ramasamy wakes up every day of the week at four o'clock in the morning. His seven cows supply him the necessary milk for his sale, but the milk is always made in the traditional way: the additional hands of his wife are not too much to milk the ruminants. Once the draft is finished, Ramasamy rides his scooter by maintaining his big container straight between his legs. His daily tour can start.

A classical day

ramasamyThe milk distribution starts at half past six, when the first beams of the sun rise. Wandering on his scooter, Ramasamy realizes an important course through the streets and districts of Pondicherry, circulating between the first drivers and offering a recurring show to Indians on their doorstep. His father transmitted to him his regular customers, and Ramasamy continue to deliver the milk every morning at the same addresses. Due to the familial tradition, Ramasamy recovered the paternal trade, its habits and its loyal customers. The process is repetitive: parking his scooter in front of the house, Ramasamy drums some blows on the door to announce his arrival. He fills then the bottles of his customer with some swigs taken in his container. His tour ends approximately at half past ten, when not a single white drop of milk stays in his big container. Ramasamy earns enough money to send his boy and his daughter of twenty years old to the University.


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