They risk their lives everyday for a meager wage. They hang from tall buildings without any harness. They clean the shining glass that we like to flaunt in our beautiful offices and buildings. They do not have any insurance cover and nowhere to go to in case of an injury. Lets learn a little more about the real heroes of everyday – the glass cleaners.
Have you seen the buildings around? With the advance of modern technology, sometimes we tend to copy western ideas that do not suit our needs. Like glass buildings in a tropical country like ours. Just retrospect on how forward-thinking and logical our forefathers, and even the British in India, had been – all the old buildings have big verandahs, windows and a high ceiling to easily disperse heat.
But we’ve started copying western ideas of insulated buildings, which is something many of the developed countries need to keep them warm in extreme cold climates. Whatever might be the logic, it is a fact that all modern buildings we have now are glass structures, and that is where today’s ‘everyday hero’ – the glass cleaners – works.
I have had a chance to meet a few of these truly heroic guys. They hang from high rises with nothing but a plank that they sit on. No safety harness or equipment, forget an accidental insurance, which actually is a must for people with such high-risk jobs.
I wait for an hour to let these guys come down and have a chat. Ramesh is their team lead.
“I was a daily wager before I learnt to clean glass windows. I started off as an assistant, somebody who stays on the top floor, handling the ropes and supplies – water, soap, dry cloth etc,” explains Ramesh.
He earns a pretty sum, a few thousand rupees every time he cleans, but he says there is a risk, a real risk of falling off, and the simple helmets that they wear can do nothing to make it safer.
It’s maybe time that these guys are paid enough so that they can at least have accidental insurance cover. Ramesh says he would love to have insurance as he has seen people of his profession get badly hurt, but says that there is never that little extra money to pay for insurance. I wished him luck and told him he needs to insure no matter what.
See more Invisible Heroes of Everyday here.