Circumstances force people to take up professions they may have never imagined to pursue – such is the case of a woman named Savitri who scales tall palm trees to eke out a living.
According to a News18 report, the 33-year-old mother of one daughter has had no other option, but to scale these trees to extract toddy and earn money.
Savitri was four months pregnant with her second child when her husband when Sai Goud, also a toddy tapper, died of cardiac arrest. When she gave birth, her girl was born with special needs.
“God punished us. First my husband was taken, then my child was born with medical needs. I had to raise money to take care of her.”
Savitri who has studied till the tenth standard, is literate and even got some job opportunities. But she refused them all as she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her husband and become a toddy tapper.
“I got other job opportunities but I turned them down. I wanted to become a toddy tapper which is our family profession. It reminds me and my family of my husband,” Savitri told News18.
“Initially, the officials were not ready to give me the license. But my determination and commitment, they gave me the license,” Savitri said. “I can climb 30-foot-tall palm tree with ease,” she added. The 33-year-old climbs 30 palm trees every day and travels about 10 km each day to collect the toddy.
Last year, a Kerala woman named Sheeja also made headlines for an unconventional profession as a toddy tapper. According to the New Indian Express, Sheeja can climb up to 26 feet.
Speaking to TNIE she said, “In the beginning, I tried to learn by climbing small trees. Then slowly increase the height. Now, I climb 10 trees three times a day. I get around Rs 350 per day, if I work. If I can’t work, I won’t get any money.”