Age not by his side, I’ve always wondered why this old man has come to work for us. Not just this man, but, most of the residential security are middle to old aged men. Like most of the world, I was rather oblivious to the fact until recently.When I walk up to him and ask him if it would be okay with him for me to pen a piece on him, he grins. I realize that he is enjoying the rare attention.
When I asked him what he feels his life’s biggest achievement is, “Education.”, he says. Until then I had always thought that the people from the older generation didn’t respect education much. So, I prod more into the subject. He proudly starts to tell me about all of his academic achievements. He tells me that he has pursued a PUC, which is equivalent to today’s 12th standard. While it might be a small thing for us, he goes on to tell me how difficult it was for him to even reach that level.
He discloses that his family faced a lot of monetary issues before he could finish his PUC. But, against all these odds he strived hard to complete his education. After he finished his PUC, he decided that it was time for him to take part in income generation within the family.
He went to Industrial Training Institute, Ambattur, Chennai, an institution that gives practical training in all technical fields. He states that the institution also gives ‘campus placements’, for all those who complete the course with them.
Following this, he joined Tata Steel, Ambattur, Chennai, as a Welder and worked there for around 40 years, before retiring and joining Eagle Eye Security Services as a Security Guard.
I ask him why he chose this job instead of having a laid back retirement. He reveals to me the current monetary pressure that his household is going through. He goes on to tell me about the joint family that he lives in, his wife, son and his family- wife and two children.
He says he works here to provide an additional income to the family. His work timings keep shifting- day shifts, night shifts and sometimes even double shifts.
He narrates his daily life in a few short lines. He reaches his workplace as early at 5:30 (a.m. or p.m., depending on the work shift) and stays there for the next 12 hours (24 hours if it’s a double shift, which is not uncommon). His son gives him Rs.10 every day to have refreshments during the course of his shift. On day shifts, his wife brings him his lunch. His duties involve regulating the motor, keeping an eye on the visitors and helping out visitors and owners to park their vehicles. He says that doing this job is better than sitting idle at home. This keeps him encouraged to continue this job. And the knowledge that he is standing at the gate, gives the residents a little more of a secure feel.