Crossing hurdles with steely grit

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18-year-old physically challenged Penumaka Naga Lakshmi with her mother Amrutam, in Vijayawada.
18-year-old physically challenged Penumaka Naga Lakshmi with her mother Amrutam, in Vijayawada.

P. Sujatha Varma

18-year-old Nagalakshmi suffers from multiple congenital deformities

She could not attend school for months when she broke her wrist bone

The girl is happy because a local NGO has promised to take her as data operator

VIJAYAWADA: Just one look at her and you are bound to feel that it could be the worst possible medical diagnosis. Despite unusually stunted growth of her four limbs that are barely visible, her torso is upright and the girl never fails to flash a smile at passers by. Strike a conversation and she proves you wrong.

Eighteen-year-old Penumaka Nagalakshmi is a living example of inexhaustible determination that can help an individual navigating through the most difficult moments of life.

Just about any way you look at it, life presents her with heavy challenges. Despite being severely disabled, Nagalakshmi cleared every lingering cobweb from her head and surged ahead with the help of her supportive mother, Amrutham, a housewife. “At the time of her birth, she was a mass of flesh with no bones visible in her body. I was petrified but I held her close to me all the time. I had to exercise great care while washing her because of her fragile bones,” explains Amrutham.

On her insistence, Amrutham admitted her in a school and would carry her every single day and bring her back. “Even if you apply the slightest pressure, my bones almost snap right then and there,” the girl points to her skeletal wrist. But she has managed to keep herself together.

Her medical report indicates that the girl is suffering from multiple congenital deformities that include post-polio paralysis hemiplegia, quadriplegia malunited, fracture, nerveparalysis, upper extremity, lower extremity limb, painful shortening and much more.

A resident of Indira Nagar near Yanamalakuduru Locks, Nagalakshmi’s daily routine is to sit in a chair outside her house and watch people going about their daily chores while her father, an agricultural coolie is gone for work and mother is busy in the kitchen. “I like talking to people and I have even befriended many passers-by who take this route daily,” she says enthusiastically.

In tenth class, she could not attend school for more than five months when she broke her wrist bone. But her resolve to write the exam enabled her to achieve the goal.

“I have joined computer classes for learning the basics. I want to earn money and help my mother who has been struggling all her life for my happiness,” she says gazing at her doting mother.

The girl is on cloud nine as a local NGO has promised to absorb her as data operator once she is done with her computer course. She is more than happy and her eyes so full of hope and anticipation of the good days ahead.



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