Sunday, January 11, 2009


Please meet Chella Durai ( darling rich man ) from Thirunelveli, in Tamilnadu, a neighboring state. He is 31 years old, married with two children aged 2 and 8. His wife is staying in his native place and looks after the children. He has come to Kochi to earn money to support himself and his family.

By ironing clothes, he makes about Rs.10000 a month.(Rs.50 = $1) He is paying Rs.1500 towards rent, Rs.1800 for coal and Rs. 3000 for his food and other expenses. He sends home the balance amount of Rs.3700.

He works from 8am to 8pm with small breaks in between for lunch and tea. He explained to me that this job has several health problems. Firstly, his shoulder joints can get worn out by holding the iron box weighing 8 kilos and moving it over the clothes. Secondly, he can get piles since he is standing with the weight for hours together. Thirdly, since he is holding the hot iron in front of his stomach most of the time, he can get stomach ulcers.

But then, this is the only job he knows and therefore, despite the risks involved, he keeps doing it day after day. He is very pleasant, cheerful, respectful, and does his job with all sincerity and takes his responsibility of supporting his family very seriously. Some times he saves some extra money by eating less so that he can send it home to his wife. He can make more money by ironing more clothes. This means he has to do shabby work and he is against it. He will not do anything to make his customers unhappy.

He is another one of those faceless men on earth who live a quiet life, trying his best to survive in this tough world without troubling anyone, doing some thing useful to the society, facing the ups and downs of life with a stoic resilience and fulfilling God’s command, “ THOU SHALL EARN THY BREAD BY THE SWEAT OF THY BROW.”


Rahul said...

the common man comes to the forefront..nice...


Very nice.

Services we take for granted without realising their problems...
Your pictures are terrific, I see the hard working man's honest smile.

Paul said...

A sincere young man leading a happy life. Let me define life like this
Just think !

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
This is an inspiring story and like so many we wonder what can be done? I wonder if this man has access to electricity? If so I'm sure we would all like to send him the money to buy an electric iron which would eliminate some of his struggle. If you see him again, maybe you could inquire about this or what it would take to get him to a place where he would have electrical access. It may be we could join together and help him?
It may not be possible but maybe it is? It would be an honor to help him. There are services that make loans to hard working people and it may be we could do the same?
God bless,

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

There is electricity but he prefers to use coal iron because it is heavy and the clothes will get neatly pressed by lesser movements which means time saving.
Besides electricity charges are very high.

Many thanks for your kindness.

Best wishes :)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Paul :)

Many thanks for the interesting quotes on life. They are inspiring.

Best wishes :)

Femin Susan said...

in our area two boys come to collect the cloths.they don't attend school.but they are involved in helping there father for this job. now they are very big about 16 or 18.
this is another story of the life led by a "ironing man"

SkyJuice said...

Hi Joseph,

I'm humbled by this entry. I wish he didn't have to hold the heavy and hot iron for such long hours. Thank you for sharing.

Have a good week ahead! :-)

Leo said...

I have never seen (or even thought about) an ironing man. We live in a perma-pressed world over here. But, I do admire his determination and cheerfulness, and I wish that he could be with his family all of the time. Please tell him. Thanks for enlightening me, Joseph.

Swarna said...

JP - Good that you gave Chelladurai well-deserved space.
Really - he is an 'iron man'. Where we live, a family does this service and charge Re 1 per item (more for woollens). I admit to having mixed feelings when I see the five kids of the family helping out their parents - thankfully the younger four also attend school...

magicpolaroid said...

hello Joseph, how are u? thanx for visiting my blog and I appreciate ur nice comments! about this post I wish that he could be with his family all of the time.

H. said...

great post joseph!

Danielle&Hannah said...

Hi there Joseph,

I am easing back into the New Year thus missed a bit of blogging/reading. I hope that you are healthy and happy in this New Year?
Wow, is that $1 USD or AUD?
That is such commitment to his family that he shows! Some of us obviously are short sighted when it comes to an honest day's work and the value of a dollar, especially in this "Global Financial Crisis".

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Danielle :)

I am glad to see you after the new year bash :)

It is US$.

Wish you and Hannah all happiness in the new year.

JM said...

Nice to meet Chella Durai! He looks like a great guy.
I am really amazed with the heavy iron! 8 kgs!!! Hope he will never get health problems handling it for such long periods and wish he will come back to his family soon.

Mark said...

People who work in unglamorous jobs are the backbone of society -- they are the ones who make it possible for everything else to happen. Small shop owners, those who are craftsmen, those who provide services to others. Where would we be without them?