CHENNAI: Me, But why? “I am not a famous person. What would you gain by writing about me? I am sure no one wants to know about my life,” says 55-year-old Antony Joseph, who has lived in Madipakkam in the southern suburbs of Chennai for most of his life.
A lone tailoring machine by the side of a compound wall of a house and two wooden chairs as old as him form his work-space. A tarpaulin sheet serves as the roof above his head.
“You first tell me why you want to write about me!” he insists, but eventually gives in. A god-fearing man, tailoring is all what Antony knows and his routine has remained unchanged for the past 30 years. “I start my day at 8am and finish work by 6 pm. I am always engaged. Some days, I earn `300. Some days, nothing at all,” he smiles. Antony moved from Munnar in Kerala when he was 15 years old, with four brothers and two sisters.
One of his sisters has passed away. He says he has been in touch with his siblings who stay in different parts of the city. “My father left our family when I was in class 3,” Antony pauses for a second and adds, “He must have gone in search of a better life.”
Antony discontinued school after that and got to meet his father after eight years. His father was making a living as a cab driver in Chennai. “I was made to work in a garment store in T Nagar, where I learnt tailoring,” he recalls.
Antony’s wife Shanthi works as a domestic help. “I have five children. My son works as a pastor at a church in Thozhuppedu near Melmaruvathur. I got all my daughters married. It was decided long back that If we have a son, we would raise him to serve God.”
Antony goes home and watches religious shows on television. “I don’t watch mega-serials on television. My life is tailor-made, brother,” he laughs.