Meet Satheeshan, the guardian angel of motorists at Kerala’s Kancor Junction

T.K.Satheeshan, dressed in a shirt and white dhoti, serves as a guardian angel at the Kancor Junction on Angamaly-Manjaly Road in Kerala. Over the past six years, this 58-year-old lottery seller has played a crucial role in preventing numerous accidents at the hazardous Y-junction. His mere presence ensures an impeccable safety record, achieved solely through the use of his hands and his compassionate heart.

“I have been a lottery seller for the past 10 years, and for the last six years, I have stationed myself at Kancor, a tri-junction of Angamaly-Manjaly road and FCI road leading to the Angamaly Industrial zone,” he shared with THE WEEK. 

Heavy vehicles get Satheeshan’s assistance at the junction | Manorama

“For those approaching the junction from the industrial zone, visibility of vehicles on the Angamaly-Manjaly road is nearly impossible, leading to the notoriety of this junction for frequent accidents. I am not trained in traffic control, nor do I know any official hand signals as I never had the opportunity to learn driving. However, acknowledging the challenges faced by people passing in front of me, I took the initiative to use hand signals to manage traffic in this busy junction.”

Satheeshan arrives at the spot at 9.30 am every day, and he will stay there till 3pm. He will sell up to 120 to 130 lottery tickets every day and earn around Rs750. “A lot of people support me for traffic volunteering by buying lotteries from me; some people do not even collect balance from me,” he says. “There are also some customers who get pissed off when they see me going to show traffic signals while they are there to buy lottery tickets. But I would tell them: ‘This [traffic controlling] is my priority’.”

The lottery retailer, now with a loyal clientele of Kerala lottery buyers from the locality, reminisces about his beginnings. “I displayed hand signals to a lorry driver approaching from the industrial area,” he recalls. “In return, the lorry driver appreciated my service and motivated me to keep doing it. However, I expressed concerns about potential disapproval from the police regarding my involvement in traffic control. The lorry driver encouraged me saying that there wouldn’t be any issue since I was merely assisting people. It’s noteworthy that nowadays when the police or MLA traverse the road, they simply raise their hand and greet me.”

Originally from Kuzhoor near Maala, Thrissur, Satheeshan engaged in various occupations before assuming the roles of a lottery seller and traffic volunteer. “I held positions as an employee in a cycle chain cover company, a film representative, a theatre manager, and office secretary of a local organization before transitioning into a lottery agent,” he recounts.

T.K.Satheeshan's vigil avoids accidents at the Y-Junction | Manorama

T.K.Satheeshan’s vigil avoids accidents at the Y-Junction | Manorama

He emphasizes being the sole breadwinner for his family, which includes his wife and 13-year-old son. Despite undergoing financial challenges, Satheeshan maintains his optimism regarding humanity and the kindness of others. “I’ve experienced kindness from others,” he notes. 

“During the initial years, I used to stand at Kancor throughout the day. However, upon receiving advice from police officials concerned about my health, a resident from the Kancor neighbourhood generously provided me with a chair to sit on. Additionally, a paint company donated a sizable umbrella for some shade. It’s truly fascinating that when you do good for others, others reciprocate with kindness.”