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Mumbai Meri Hai: Gautam Pawar, the morgue attendant

Gautam Pawar, 58, started his career as a canteen boy at St. George’s hospital in Fort 42 years ago.

mumbai Updated: Aug 30, 2018 11:44 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
morgue attendant,St. George’s hospital,Mumbai
Gautam Pawar, who has worked at a morgue for 30 years, says the job has put him at ease with the idea of death(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

Dealing with it every day has given Gautam Pawar a sense of ease with death, he says. His job involves preparing bodies for autopsies, which is not a pleasant task. “But I am a grateful man,” he says. “I believe it is my good karma that provides me and my family with a regular source of income.”

Pawar, 58, started his career as a canteen boy at St George’s Hospital, Fort, 42 years ago. He just had to drop out of Class 7 because his father, a factory worker, couldn’t pay the fees. Doctors he befriended in the canteen suggested he apply for a position as morgue attendant. He’s had that job for 30 years.

From a salary of Rs 6 a month, he now earns around Rs 18,000. “I could not fulfil my dream of going abroad, though I had a chance to,” Pawar says. “My parents never agreed. They said I would have to bury them before leaving the city.”

Still, he adds, he considers himself luckier than the unfortunate 18-year-old girl whose body has just undergone an autopsy. “She was found in a train toilet. She had fought with her parents and run away to the city. She never lived to see what the city is,” he says.

Sitting in his aaram khursi outside the morgue, he looks like a man at ease. “I have two years before I retire. I have youngsters to train before I go. I’m satisfied…” he says.

(This story is part of a series Moving Images that celebrates the city of Mumbai through its people.)

First Published: Aug 25, 2018 10:10 IST