Friday, October 3, 2008
my one and only vehicle, Tata diesel cab
I have had this vehicle, leased as new from the time I returned. It has served me during these years and just as I reach my 4th anniversary back in Sri Lanka, the last lease payment is coterminous with that. Nearing 125,000 km it is a shadow of its former self, creaking and noisy beyond imagination, requiring a major overhaul, including minor body repairs but also a good paint job to prevent corrosion.
It has hauled almost anything you can think of and I do not believe there is another vehicle like this in the country that has had this much use for such a versatile series of tasks. Just to name a few, the regular transporting of grass or hay for the cattle, regular deliveries of King Coconuts to customers in Colombo, transport of rice and food stuffs from Polonnaruwa, hauling timber, frames, and even roof tiles from my fathers home to Polonnaruwa, where the 90 year old tiles from India were taken once he decided to put a sheet roof replacing the leaking clay tiles.
I could not have carried on my business without this vehicle, and despite the high cost of maintenance and running, I believe it has been the best option available to me. I wish I had a vehicle to deliver foodstuffs that is both covered and refrigerated, for the future growth of my delivery business, but that will just have to wait for better times, when I can be assured of reliable employees to carry out this task as I already have an unsatisfied market.
The fifth estate of my business and a crucial one at that, allowing me to survive to tell the tale so far, has been my Monday home delivery business of about 40 different items. It is primarily my produce from both Godagama and Polonnaruwa, but also what I purchase from my neighbors and from other sources.
This makes Mondays the hardest day of my already busy schedule. At 5 am the produce has to be collected, picked and packed in weights for delivery. It is usually past 10am when I leave fully loaded to the gunnels. An extremely tiring day of delivery to friends and family ends around 7.30pm and it takes another 90 minutes during rush hour to return to the farm. I then have to unload any unsold items, and then repack for my trip to Polonnaruwa, with crates, water and items such as banana plants. I then leave after 10pm; the journey of 215km takes me four and half hours to get to Hingurakgoda. This late night journey is often alone, thanks to this workhorse Tata.