Such groups of youths are at work at many spots along the Musi starting from Bapu Ghat and Puranapul. (DC Image)
Hyderabad: The sight of young swimmers diving under the water is a common sight to those who pass by or cross River Musi. It would appear that these men are enjoying their time in the waters and are having a good time. The truth is they are risking their lives for a livelihood.
These are highly skilled swimmers and they come from ordinary families. Their talent is confined to these dives. They dive down to the depths of the river to pick coins or small brass items now and then. If they are lucky, they get silver coins; and sometimes, small pieces of gold too.
During the Hindu festivals, especially during the Navarathri, it is part of tradition for the faithful to throw coins and old metal idols from the Pooja room to the water bodies. Mostly, items of pooja are thrown into rivers; or some are fulfilling a vow to the river goddess.
Abu, Yousif, Zameer, Sharukh, Salman, along with some other youths were seen diving and excavating coins from River Musi on Thursday. "We do the same year-long. During festivals, we will get more coins. We work as a group and earn two or three hundred rupees each day. Sometimes, we are lucky enough to get silver coins. Today we got a small sword, a very old one," admitted Yousif.
Zameer, one of the divers, said, "We are from Warasiguda. We move all over the city’s water bodies to dive down and fetch coins. We also help the authorities trace and pull out (dead) bodies. Sometimes, we don’t charge anything from the police for that."
Sharukh said, "We are skilled swimmers. When the currents are high, we keep off the waters. In the recent floods, one of our friends who was fully drunk challenged the waters and claimed he could swim in heavy currents. He was found dead somewhere far down the river."
Yousif, who was sitting close to the river and monitoring the scene, said, "We have been doing this for the past many years. I learned this from the seniors near our house. We used to accompany them on an adventure."
In fact, such groups of youths are at work at many spots along the Musi starting from Bapu Ghat and Puranapul. The faithful will be throwing things from the bridge into the water. There are too many temples in the Old City close to the Musi. If someone dies, his or her belongings are thrown into the river.