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Disability is Irreversible but Attitude towards Life is Reversible

A Journey overcoming the impediments of Disability through Determination

A case study of Ramesh

RameshRamesh aged 26 years hails from Poola Obaiahpalli Village of Tadimarri Mandal in Ananthapuram District.  He belongs to a backward caste.  His father studied upto primary level and is a farmer while his mother had no education and is a housewife.  He has a sister who studied upto class X and is married.  His family owns 2.5 acres of dry and 1.5 acres of wet land.

Fearing that his Father would scold and beat him for he failed in his Intermediate in 2007 he left home without intimating anybody.   He stayed with his friends in Mysore for six months.  He worked as a labourer under a skilled mason to eke out his livelihood.  He was not tuned for such hard labour and had fallen sick.  Due to continuous fever and weakness his friends had advised him to go back to his native village.  They accompanied him to his native village.  His parents felt happy after seeing him.  He was helping his father in farming works but due to continuous failure of rains they were not getting back what was invested on agriculture.  He thought of helping his parents in repaying debts and meeting their basic needs by getting some job in Bangalore.

He was working under daily newspaper distributor.  From early morning 4 to 5 he was despatching newspaper bundles at different distribution points.  He was working as a paperboy from morning 5 to 7 and later working in ply food factory from morning 9 to evening 5 O Clock.   He was earning an income ranging from Rs.6000 to Rs.10, 000.  His maternal aunty came forward to give her daughter to him as he had good earnings.  But things happened differently just before his marriage engagement.

In the year 2010 he met with a major accident.  The paper van in which he was travelling was hit by a tractor carrying full load of sand.  He sustained fracture to his hand and his left leg got crushed while the driver of paper van died on the spot.  He was admitted into a corporate hospital and intimation was given to his parents.  His parents had sold part of their property and also borrowed an amount of Rs.250, 000 towards his medical treatment but there no improvement in his health condition.  As they were unable to bear expenditure in corporate hospital his parents shifted him to NIMS (Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences), Hyderabad to access health insurance under AROGYASRI in 2011.

He was denied admission in NIMS but the Circle Inspector of Police who was known to his family helped him to get admitted in NIMS as he was working in Hyderabad. The doctors told him that his wound was completely infected and recommended amputation of infected leg.   The amputation was done in May 2011.

He said that it was a tough time to lead his life with only leg.    It took almost couple of days for him to recover from the wound.  His parents did a great service when he was confined to bed.  He suffered both physically and psychologically after the accident that happened just like a flash leaving bad memories and long term repercussions.    His relatives who were so fascinated to choose him as their son-law had given up their idea.  He says that “It’s but natural for them to change their mindset because I had no earning and they felt belittled to give their daughter to a person with disability.  I got self-motivated to continue my education to get job and settle down in life because dependency on others for a long period keeps our spirits down.  I shall think of getting married only after I settle down in my life.  In case nobody comes forward to give their daughter to me I shall adopt an orphan boy or girl to give life to them”.

He was helping an aged couple in his native village by way of fetching water, vegetables, milk and medicine.  They have love for him since he could do some of their works in the absence of their sons who were staying in Bangalore city.  They send money to their parents but they need physical help which Ramesh could render while he was pursuing his high school education.  That family helped him financially to cope up from the brutal accident.  They also helped him partially towards his education.  Even today they render help whenever asked.  But he approaches them only when he fails to manage resources on his own.   He says, “I realized that whatever that we do to others whether good or bad comes back to us in some form or other.  Hence, I decided to do good things”

One of the Group Organizers told him about the possibility of getting back mobility by using artificial limb and had advised him to go to Orthotic and Prosthetic workshop at Bhathalapalli. He gained confidence when RDT-Prosthetic technician told him that he could confidently use artificial limb but only after he adheres to all the guidelines including use of crepe bandage and physiotherapy.  He was given prosthesis towards the end of 2011 after he was found fit for using it.

Initially he had problems in using the appliance but got accustomed to it.   There were repairs since the leather belt was getting withered away frequently.  There was no provision for lock system in the prosthesis provided to him and it was causing damage to his pants.  Later appliance with a lock system was provided but the leather belt was getting withered away due to continuous use.

A group of trainees accompanied by experts in fabricating prosthesis from Mobility India, Bangalore had visited Ortho Workshop of RDT at Bhathalapalli.  The Orthotic Engineer referred him to the specialist from Mobility India.  He went to Mobility India, Bangalore upon the suggestion given by RDT staff and also by student trainees.

Mobility India delivered the limb within one week of taking measurements during 2013.   He was given training for one week before delivering the appliance.  He has been using the prosthesis provided by Mobility India since then without any problem.   Ramesh confidently says, “It’s impossible to imagine my life without the artificial prosthesis because I knew the life that I led in the absence of it.  Physical dependence due to lack of mobility intensifies agony and makes one depressed.  Mobility gives real freedom and the artificial limb supplied to me made it possible.   I got adopted to the use of prosthesis and I always consider it as part of my body”.

After his mobility got restored back he appeared for intermediate and completed the course successfully with 60% of marks.  He later applied for special diploma in education for children with speech and hearing disability but couldn’t succeed in getting seat.  He joined Diploma in Education (D.Ed.,) in neighbouring Kurnool district and completed the course with 78% of marks.  He is now pursuing his graduation in arts privately.

He got his fee reimbursement from the Government of Andhra Pradesh.  At the beginning one of Wardens of Government Welfare Hostel for Boys at the place where he studied his two year Diploma course in Education had allowed him to stay in the Hostel on humanitarian grounds since he also hailed from Ananthapuram district.   But the Hostel was away from his College.   Hence, he stayed in rented room along with his colleagues.  He got good support from his friends, neighbours and lecturers during his stay in D.Ed., College.  RDT extended higher education grants (Rs.10, 000) to pursue his D.Ed.,

Ramesh realized the importance of education and the need for working very hard to get teacher or other Government jobs.  He is preparing for the posts offered by RRB (Railway Recruitment Board) and Staff Selection Commission.  He is also awaiting advertisement from the Government for the post of Teachers.  He joined a coaching institute in Kurnool as he was weak in a few subjects especially mathematics and reasoning.  He is staying in a private hostel by paying Rs.2500 per month.  He said that “My training for jobs ends by July 2016 but my actual preparation for jobs starts thereafter”

He had changed his artificial prosthesis during January 2016 since the old one needs replacement.  He didn’t pay anything for the appliance since it was made by trainee students under the supervision of qualified technicians.  They did it as part of their training and he got benefitted by them due to rapport that he developed during his stay in Bangalore.

Ramesh says that Err is human but repeating errors again and again without any reflection serves no purpose in life. He admits that the first mistake that he had committed was leaving house without intimating his parents after he failed in his Intermediate.  He later realized that failure in examinations was not at all big failure in life because life never ends there.    He said confidently that his disability was irreversible but he could change his attitude towards life by being more positive even in odd situations.

The appliance restored his mobility and he is able to carry out his daily routines/ life skills as well as to make sincere search for his livelihood.  He obligingly says “Thanks to RDT for it guided me in a right way at right time”

He said that his Life took a new turn after he joined SAMARTHANAM, a trust based in Bangalore which is envisioned to provide opportunities for the deserving, young and talented children with any disability of any form.  He got the basic knowledge and skills in accountancy, computers, communication, personality development and goal setting.  He got motivated to see visually challenged children carrying out their life skills independently and proving themselves superior to others in all aspects of life.  He had set in a goal for his life.  His ambition is to get any Government Job.  He is working hard to become financially independent to sustain himself and to take care of parents.

He is thankful to Spanish Orthopaedic Doctors who removed steel plate inserted at the time of fracture to his hand.   He recollects and remembers the help that he got from various sources which kept his hopes alive to go ahead facing realities of life.

Ramesh suggests youth to be careful in taking hurried decisions without consulting parents or well-wishers. He says that parents struggle a lot to educate their children and to see their children in good position.  He regrets that one should be prepared to pay a big price for their wrong acts.   He opined that generally persons with disability face all types of discrimination in family and society.  But there many a persons with disability who could overcome all the impediments with determination and strong will power.  He said, “A small yet timely support will help persons with disabilities to accomplish greater tasks in life”