Society

I am…B. Satheeshan

B. Satheeshan Photo: Saraswathy Nagarajan   | Photo Credit: special arrangement



Occupation: Proprietor of electroplating and buffing unit

I started at zero. Each milestone was a struggle, nothing came easy. Hard work and determination have helped me to give a better life for my three children – two daughters and a son. The eldest, Sabitha, is studying engineering in LBS; my son, Sandeep, is an engineering student in Mar Baselios College and my youngest daughter, Sangeeta, is a Plus One student. My wife, Bindulekha, is a homemaker. She has her hands full with the three children. We stay at Aruvikkara, where I hail from.

I am happy that my children have been able to do well in academics. As for me, once I completed my class eight, I wanted to learn a technical profession, something that would help me earn a living. So I began working in a workshop in Palayam that dealt with two wheelers. It was mainly to do with electroplating of parts. I worked in several other places in the city too. I burnt my hand with a workshop I opened in Nedumangad. I left town and worked in Ernakulam and Thrissur for some time.

That was about the time I began noticing brass items that came from the Gulf countries. I noticed how they gleamed and how they did not lose their shine with time. Since I knew the basics in electroplating, I began experimenting with new combinations and methods. Twenty-five years ago, I opened a small place on the main road at Kuravankonam, where I continued to work on electroplating of two-wheeler and automobile parts. Those were given chrome plating to prevent rust. At the same time, I also began polishing brass items in a small way. Initially, there were many setbacks. The polish would disappear with time and customers would not be pleased. After many failures, I hit upon the right combination. That was about the time I opened this place near Market Road, just beyond Kuravankonam, about 15 years ago.

Now the demand is for polishing brass and copper pieces. I still do electroplating of automobile parts. Can’t forget the way I came. But the bulk of my business is polishing show pieces, trophies and so on. This trophy is for a school in Pattom. Film star Suresh Gopi came here with a big lamp. The most expensive piece I did was worth Rs. 8 lakh, a lamp that is 20 feet high.

This work is not easy and it is difficult to get trained workers. Can you see it? Or else, I can take you inside my workshop where the plating and polishing are done.

Anodes are bought from Coimbatore and Ernakulam. The anodes are expensive. Three of my staff are full timers. It is this business that has helped me earn my livelihood, buy a house and look after my family. I am 47 now and hope to work like this for another five to six years.

Prior to that I would like to expand my place. But the authorities claim that this is a green area, earmarked for fields. There are pucca buildings all around me. Nonetheless, I have not been given permission to build and I don’t have the money to bribe anyone! Till they agree, I am forced to work here. I have never advertised my work. Word of publicity bring customers here.

(A weekly column on men and women who make Thiruvananthapuram what it is)

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2020 1:15:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/b-satheeshan-runs-electroplating-and-buffing-unit/article8645516.ece

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