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His occupation presents no pressing problems At Work

C.K. Suryanarayana

His livelihood may be exhausting but Satish is a contented man

— Photo: K. Gopinathan

Iron man: Satish and Radha at work in Bangalore.

BANGALORE: For 32-year-old Satish M., ironing is not just a job but a craft that requires precision and “tremendous coordination”. He says: “Ironing is an art and can help many make a living despite not having a formal education.” Although not a large-scale business venture, ironing and dry-cleaning shops always play a vital role in the maintenance of clothes.

Mr. Satish works at his shop, Maruthi Dry Cleaners, situated on 60 feet Kalpana Chawla Road in Sanjaynagar. After an early start at 7.30 a.m., Mr. Satish irons around 120 clothes on an average every day. He performs his duty single-handedly, standing for hours on end. “I can iron 10 to 15 clothes in an hour’s time,” he says, and adds that he takes a 10-minute break after every hour of work. But he is not alone.

Mr. Satish is well supported by his wife, Radha, who brings him lunch and shares the ironing.

The hard work fetches Mr. Satish Rs. 400 at the end of the day. He takes a much-needed break from work on Sundays.

“I don’t mind even if I could earn a little more on that day, but Sunday is when I have to take care of domestic chores,” he says. Mr. Satish, who has been doing this for the past 10 years, provides quality work. “If we give quality and prompt service, we acquire a dedicated clientele, ensuring a regular income,” he said. He outsources the dry-cleaning work, taking a small commission.

Much of his income goes into making life comfortable for his wife and two daughters.

He pays Rs. 1,500 as rent, and electricity charges of Rs. 1,000 a month.

“Though some dry-cleaners charge high, I charge only Rs. 10 even for a silk sari,” Mr. Satish says.

Now, owing to mobile ironing outlets, competition is stiff, but Mr. Satish is happy to persevere.

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