It's been more than a year since he fell victim to the infamous radiation leak at west Delhi's Mayapuri scrap market, but the metal phobia continues to haunt Deepak Jain.
The 27-year-old scrap dealer was sitting at his D2-32 shop in the market when one of his labourers, Rajender Kumar, who was dismantling metal, began screaming with pain.
"I rushed out to see him and was immediately exposed to radiation," Jain said.
"For the next seven days I had high fever, but the doctors were unable to explain why. I also noticed that the skin on my right hand started peeling off."
Jain was among the eight people who were affected by radiation poisoning after being exposed to the radioactive cobalt-60 at the scrap yard in April last year. One other person was killed in the incident.
Jain then went to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), but was he was allegedly refused treatment. He was later admitted to a private hospital, where he underwent a skin replacement surgery on his right hand. He was discharged two months later, but mostly remained indoors in his Uttam Nagar house.
"The incident changed my life completely. Doctors had advised me to stay away from heat and dust," he said.
Jain did not want to return to the market again. But being the sole earning member of his family, he was left with little choice.
"Last month, I returned to the scrap yard. But I stay inside the shop. I feel handicapped and frustrated since I can't do all the things I used to before."
Jain had refused the Rs 2 lakh compensation offered by the government. He has also filed a court case against Delhi University as the metal pipe containing cobalt-60 was discarded from the university's chemistry laboratory.