A Fisherman’s Tale

Kayalavan tells us about poetry, the military and Che Guevara.


Kayalavan, 22 | Puthucherry, Tamil Nadu, India

“ I am an electrician as I have a Diploma in Electronics and Electrical Engineering.”

Is being an electrician tough?

“ Yes. Everything about it is tough. Even getting up for work is tough.

Sometimes, when work needs to be completed urgently, I have to do night shifts. So staying awake is tough too.”

Kayalavan with Siva, whom we met earlier at Kabaddi.

“ Oh, I heard you guys have to enlist in the military right? For 2 years?

I have always dreamt of being a military officer. I wanted to join the navy.

But in India, it is very difficult to get selected for the military. You have to meet certain physical requirements, sit for written examinations and pass a fitness test.

I am too skinny to be selected. I only weigh 42kg. I guess it is easier in Singapore? I have seen guys in military uniforms who are skinnier than me.”

Why the navy?

“ I was born in a fishing family, so I love the sea. Even in Singapore, when I see swimming pools or the beach, I have to resist the urge to jump in and swim.

In fact, my name means fisherman in Tamil. Kayal is Tamil for fish. In ancient Tamil poems, beautiful women are described as Kayal-eyed.”

What do you do in your free time?

“ I just hang out. I dislike going to Tekka as it gets very crowded. I like hanging out at Orchard Road. I have an uncle who is a PR here. Sometimes he will force me to go to the temple with him.”

What do you do at Orchard Road?

“ Just walk around and window shop. I also like to buy random snacks that I see.”

Do you not like going to the temple?

“ I don’t believe in God. In India, I only go to the temple when my parents force me to do so. Even when I go to the temple, I just stand aside.”

Is that Che Guevara on your shirt? Do you like him?

“ Yes. He was a revolutionary during his time. I think he serves as an inspiration to youths. I can’t be like him, but at least I can wear a T-shirt of him.”


Further Reading

Waiting for Lorry is two guys’ effort to highlight the stories of the builders of Singapore. Do Recommend and Share if you appreciate this project. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us at waiting4lorry@gmail.com .