PARAS Ram is not a man prone to begging for handouts.
He lived most of his life supporting himself, working as a painter and doing everything in his power to keep food on his table and a roof over his head.
But that all changed in August this year.
After two-and-a-half years of struggling with a hoarse voice and shortness of breath, Mr Ram decided to get himself checked out and was diagnosed with a throat tumour.
He would later have surgery at the CWM Hospital to remove the tumour — a procedure that involved cutting out his vocal chords — robbing him of the ability to speak.
Fast forward four months and Mr Ram can no longer work as a painter or support himself post surgery because of the hole left in his throat by the surgery to remove the tumour.
He now has to beg on the streets of Suva and scrounges together what he can which, truth be told, is not much. He can barely make the $100 he needs to pay rent for his Makoi flat.
When he visited The Fiji Times last week, Mr Ram explained through writing that the surgery had left him unable to practice his trade as a painter as it aggravated his asthma and the suffering was not only physical.
"People often come up to me and want to see the hole in my throat and this is embarrassing and saddens me.
"Sometimes I can't stop buses because I am unable to call out to the driver."
In an interview with this newspaper, Mr Ram explained that the fumes in the paint made his condition worse so he had to resort to begging to get money.
He explained that he received food from the JP Bayly foundation but was now trying to raise enough money to get further treatment.
"I just need a little assistance to get further treatment in India," he wrote.
"The cost of the treatment is not finalised but I have to get enough to take myself and one other person to look after me to India."
He also added that he was trying to get enough money to purchase a small juice tank in order to sell juice to support himself.
"The juice tank costs $80 and if I can get enough to buy one I will be able to support myself," he wrote.