Interview with Timmy Anna: A Tryst With Destiny

In spite of being a victim of hunger, they feed us.  The story of Tima Pai, a.k.a Timmy Anna is sure to have an impact on our humdrum affairs which actually seem appealing. Not a long lasting one but momentarily, we will stop and think for a while.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I am a Tulu localitie. I have been working in Manipal for 28 years.  I was in Mumbai earlier, working part time for a local food-chain. I am married and have 2 wonderful kids- my daughter is currently pursuing BBM and my son is in class 12. My assistant Sadashiv is 53 years old and he is still a bachelor!

How is it like working day in and out for so many years?

It’s definitely taxing. But we have to deal with it to earn a proper living. During peak time, I hardly get to sleep. I wake up at 7 in the morning and cannot sleep before 3 AM.

But you have hardly changed. You are still the same ebullient self.

Yes you can say that (Smiles). It has certainly taken a toll on my health though. My knee joints got damaged 2 years ago and it’s difficult to recover. I cannot walk properly and sometimes it does get frustrating.

How much do you earn per month?

Monthly earnings are highly uneven. During exam time, which in itself is a rarity, we earn around 6k per month and otherwise even less. So that makes it around 150 per day, if you make rough estimates. That’s not enough and we are clearly running on losses. Even the sweeper across earns 300 a day.

You said you have been working here for 28 years. What are the changes that you have observed?

Changes are definitely evident and are mostly on the negative side. Earlier students were very friendly with us and even used to give us heavy tips sometimes. Some even showed a token of appreciation before leaving college, that how dearly we have taken care of them. In fact, the 1991 Alumni batch that recently visited MIT made a point to have a group photo with us before leaving. These small things really touch our hearts. But nowadays, some students do not pay for their orders, some are even rude. You cannot make a general opinion,  even now there are a few who are extremely cordial. But yes, I think the students these days are a lot more clumsy and restless.

Any message to students?

We wish them All the Best! We know that their lives are stressful, but please be humble and respectful. That’s the basic form of education. That’s all I have to say.

Thank you sir for your time.

Pleasure is all mine.

This is what a man, enslaved by poverty and fueled by starvation in his prime youth had to say about a journey spanning over 28 years and still counting.

The story of this man-who braved his own shortcomings and witnessed the peaks and declines of Manipal- is a saga to be learnt from. It shows the impacts of time and growth, decaying and also enriching our lives.