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Adversity doesn’t deter her

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LOVING MOTHER: Veeravalli Venkatalakshmi feeding her daughter.
LOVING MOTHER: Veeravalli Venkatalakshmi feeding her daughter.

G. Nagaraja

Life’s a tough battle for Venkatalakshmi, a widow and mother of three children who are all visually impaired

ELURU: The proverbial odds are seemingly stacked up against her. Yet, grit and determination are her forte. For Venkatalakshmi, a 48-year-old widow and mother of a youngster and two girls, all visually impaired, it’s a lone battle for struggle since she lost her husband some two decades ago.

Her elder son, Subramanya (28), lost his sight at the age of four. “He was down with fever, then suffered from epilepsy and finally lost his sight,” she recollects. The same thing happened in the case of her two other children too. The second child, Sitamahalakshmi (23), suffers from loss of memory, serious hearing and speech problems in addition to blindness.

Great hardship

Doctors who treated her children said her marriage within blood relations resulted in her children having these disorders, mainly blindness caused by ‘damage of optic nerve’. Ms. Venkatalakshmi got her son and a daughter married with great difficulty. She was, however, not so lucky in the case of her second daughter. Although Venkatalakshmi is more than 23, she looks like a child of 11 years. “She is still a child for all practical purposes,” Venkatalakshmi sighed. Right from combing, feeding and bathing to answering nature’s calls, she needs personal attention from her mother. She lies on the bed round-the-clock in almost a motionless state. She suffers from mental and growth retardation.

More trouble

Life has become more miserable for Venkatalakshmi when she was transferred from the city to Narsapur, 100 km away.

She is forced to shuttle from her home town to Eluru daily as there was nobody to look after her infirm child at home. She pleaded with her higher-ups in the department for repatriation on humanitarian grounds. “At no point of time have I given up hope in my life. All the difficulties only strengthened my resolve to live just for the sake of my children,” she adds.

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