FAISALABAD: Carrying a cage with dozens of birds on his bicycle, Salman, a Class VI student, starts completing his holiday homework when there is no customer around.
A student of a private school at Naimatabad, the boy actually assists his father Gulzar Hussain in his bird selling (releasing) business, along with his brother Ahmad Ali, to feed his family.
Salman says he sets up his “stall” before 9am every day and closes shop before Maghrib prayers in the evening.
He says his father catches birds, mostly starlings, with a nest net and he has to travel to remote areas frequently for the purpose.
“Sometime, I also accompany my father, helping him in catching birds so that we can make a good living. However, on some days we have to return home without even a single bird.”
He says on a good day they earn around Rs1,500 by releasing the caged birds for their customers. “I sell four small birds against Rs150 and three big ones for the same price”, he says.
Salman wants to have a Master’s degree but does not wish to leave the business which was started by his grandfather even after completing education.
He says his father is switching over to breeding Australian parrots, hoping it will bring more profits.
“My father remains at home these days and prepares cages for the parrots to be sold to customers within weeks,” he adds.
Salman says given the nature of their present business, they have to sometime answer odd queries by customers and passersby who object to caging birds.
Some others question the legality of the business, warning them of government action.
On the contrary, he says, selling parrots is a comparatively respectable business.