'We don't have a retirement age'
When someone tells him that he does not look his age, 53-year-old Chandran Padyachi knows it is not meant in a good way.mumbai Updated: Jul 16, 2010 02:12 IST
When someone tells him that he does not look his age, 53-year-old Chandran Padyachi knows it is not meant in a good way.
"It might be the chemicals or something," he said, almost apologetically.
Chandran says workers like him do not have a retirement age.
"It depends on what comes first — ill health or old age," he said.
Chandran stopped going to work in 2005 because he could barely walk.
He started working at Haji Bunder, handling hazardous waste for the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), in 1978.
He suffered a paralytic stroke in 2002 that rendered him immobile for two years.
Not to mention the innumerable burns he received handling various chemicals through the years.
"I remember there was caustic soda or something, stored in gunny bags. I didn't know how dangerous it could be, and some of it spilled on my legs and hands and got burnt," he said.
To treat these burns, he had to dip into his measly savings and ensure that he returned to work the next day.
When he retired, Chandran got only Rs 1.25 lakh.
"My paralytic stroke forced me to sell all the land and property I had to fund my treatment," he said.
"How long can Rs 1.25 lakh last? Especially when I still can't walk without a limp?"