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Caged by age and ailment

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Cruel fate: S.V. Paramasivam inside the wooden box in Madurai.
Cruel fate: S.V. Paramasivam inside the wooden box in Madurai.

S. Sundar

An old man and his box

MADURAI: At first sight, not many will believe that the inmate of the wooden box on the roadside is a human being. For exactly a month now, S.V. Paramasivam, 76, has remained confined to a box measuring four feet by 2.5 feet with a height of 3 feet. The ‘shelter,’ pitched on his friend’s residential premises, has now come to the open ground at the District Revenue Officer Colony here.

Mr. Paramasivam admits that it is his choice to dwell in the box. Age and ailment have left him immobile. His left limbs were affected by a paralytic stroke last year. After prolonged treatment, he now needs physiotherapy to be up and about. He has two sisters, but he does not want to trouble them. “They live with their daughters-in-law,” he points out.

Full of confidence

The man is confidence personified. “Help me stand up. I will stand on my legs till I breath my last,” he avers. He has himself designed the cramped shelter with a urinal so that he need not disturb anyone. Mr. Paramasivam, who has studied up to Standard X, was taking tuitions to earn a living in Madurai and Sivaganga for nearly a decade till he became a paralytic. “Yes, I look like a beggar. But once my left leg becomes active again, I will resume my tuition classes,” he says.

“Since childhood, I was firm that I should not get government assistance meant for the physically challenged. I wanted to be on my own. But, I was forced to accept old age pension (Rs.400 a month) for my living after I fell ill,” he says.

He now wants the government to transfer his pension account to Madurai soon, so that he need not go all the way to Sivaganga. “I am thankful to Sivaganga Collector P.K. Bansal. He treated me with respect and directed the officials to transfer my account.”

Only food, no money

Even at the worst moment of his life, Mr. Paramasivam has promised one of his old students, M. Thangalakshmi, to get her a good job in Bangalore. “He takes only food from people around, but not money,” says the girl.

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