An accident had restricted her movement for months, but that’s not broken Hanan’s spirit. Hanan, a name and face that is familiar to all Keralites, is back to selling fish, this time in a customised Tata Ace van.
The young woman had become a sensation in the state for her pluck, after pictures of her selling fish in her college uniform at the Thammanam market in Kochi had gone viral. But like most other viral internet stories, Hanan’s too took a horrendous turn as she was subjected to vicious abuse online. Abuse so severe and brutal, that the Chief Minister himself had to come to her rescue and warn the trolls. And just as she was recovering from the online onslaught, the 20-year old met with an accident in September near Kodungallur in Thrissur.
It took months for Hanan to get back on her feet after she suffered from a spine injury. “I have not recovered fully, I still have pain in the back. That is why I chose this way of selling fish, now I can comfortably sit in the van and sell fish. I can’t stay at home for long, right? I had to come back,” she tells TNM.
And trust Hanan to be cheeky while naming her new venture - of cleaning and selling fish in boxes - Viral. The van was inaugurated by film actor Salim Kumar on Thursday. She plans to sell fish at Pulleppadi, another busy junction near Thammanam. The business, she says, will take time to become a full-fledged one as she plans to hire more staff. She, along with her staff, will go to Varapuzha, Vypine and Munampam in Kochi to buy the fish in bulk. From next week on, ‘Viral’ will start home delivery.
She had to arrange a loan of Rs 4.5 lakh for buying the van. “An uncle who knows my struggles stood as collateral security to avail the loan,” she says.
Hanan is a final year student of BSc Chemistry at Aster College in Kochi. She still dreams of becoming a doctor. “I am planning to join NEET entrance coaching after I graduate. I will dedicate a year for that. I am an average student, but if I study hard, I can improve my performance, right? It’s my ambition to go for MBBS. I will continue selling fish to meet the expenses of my family and for my studies. Many believe that fish selling is not a profitable business, I am determined to prove them wrong,” Hanan declares.
Though she hails from Thrissur, Hanan has been living in a flat in Kochi after completing twelfth standard. From giving tuition classes to doing event management and radio programmes, she has done many jobs to make ends meet since her childhood. Hanan has always been in Kerala’s thoughts. In October, a Facebook post by make-up artist Abeel Robin describing Hanan’s indomitable spirit had gone viral.
Her enthusiasm to meet any problem head on is evident in her voice, too. “Once people came to know about my story, I was invited for inaugurations and to anchor shows. I was able to make a good amount of money out of that. When I was confined to my home post the accident, I used those savings to run my family,” she says.