A film festival was the last place Ajith, a tipper lorry driver, imagined himself to be at
Standing outside the entry to Saritha theatre, the main venue of the Kochi leg of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) here on Wednesday, Ajith K.B, one of the many young festival volunteers, had a desolate look on his face.
It was not surprising as a film festival was the last place the 27-year-old from Piravom imagined himself to be at having been into driving heavy vehicles for a living for long.
But the pandemic took a huge toll on his livelihood and left him jobless after the tipper lorry of which he was a driver was sold following drastic drop in business. So when his three student friends applied as volunteers at the film fest, he also pitched in with nothing else to do.
“It is my first outing ever at a film festival whether as a volunteer or as a delegate,” he said. Ajith started off driving a tanker lorry and then progressed to a bullet tanker and then signed up as the driver of a tipper lorry engaged by a stone quarry in his neighbourhood.
“With the stone quarry closed down in the wake of the pandemic, the tipper lorry owner ran out of business, forcing him to sell both his vehicles,” said Ajith who has been taking up an assortment of casual jobs since then.
He still has no idea what his remuneration will be for signing up as a volunteer at IFFK. After five days at the fest, he will be joining a decoration firm as driver to transport stuff for setting up pandals across the State. It will be an on-demand job with little job security. “I will have to do with these kind of piecemeal works till things improve,” sighed Ajith though he has no clue when that will happen.