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Jaipur: Amidst misery, kindness of a few

May 14, 2008
On a normal day, 18-year-old Narender Singh earns Rs 200 from the make-shift telephone booth he operates from outside the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur.

Most of his customers are poor relatives of patients who use his facility -- an old car battery powers a discarded cordless phone and a billing machine held together by cellophane tape -- to pass messages to near and dear ones in remote places.

At around noon on Wednesday, Singh has just finished assisting one more customer -- a very elderly man -- dial a number and speak to a relative. By the time the man hangs up, about a hundred people had used Singh's PCO and the billing machine has registered calls worth Rs 400.

But Singh does not have a single rupee in the cash box.

Image: A relative on the phone at Singh's PCO.
Text: Krishnakumar in Jaipur | Photographs: Nikhil Joshi

Also read: Jaipur Blasts: The Day After
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