Stories Unheard – The Bone Collectors of Bengaluru

Chinnapillai, Nadiya, Indira and Chinnakulu have a unique job – they are all bone collectors. In this episode, they tell their life stories to RJ Usha.
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When they first came to Bangalore, they didn’t have any place to live, so they used to sleep under shop awnings and cook food using makeshift stoves made of bricks. Later, they managed to build a mud house for themselves; there used to be no electricity supply there so they managed with kerosene lamps and used bits of charcoal to cook. When they found out about a job collecting bones, they took it up.

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The morning starts early. At 5 am, after finishing the daily chores, the duty of heading to a place called ‘dodi’ begins – this is where coconut shells, plastic bottles, milk packets and bones are all collected and dumped. The bones need to be collected this early to avoid other collectors. The bones that have been collected are kept in a specific basket and later dried for 2-3 days. The dried bones are packed in gunny bags and sold for the price of INR 20 or INR 30. The bone collectors carry the gunny bags on their heads and walk for miles. They sell them at places such as Shivajinagar, K R Market, Chikpet, and others.
Listen in for more…

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