“When you want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it,” the old man told the shepherd boy Santiago in Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist.’

K. Vaisakh, representing Government Higher Secondary School, Cheruthuruthy, in the State science fair stands testimony to this quote. A Class 10 student, Vaishakh is afflicted with cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that appear in infancy and permanently affect body movements and muscle coordination.

But this disability has not stopped him from pursuing his dream. A science enthusiast, he has been representing his school at various science fairs for the fifth consecutive year. Instead of preferring a special school, Vaisakh’s parents, Vinod, an employee at the Central Institute of Panchakarma, and Sharmila, a homemaker, enrolled their only son in a normal school. “There were initial hiccups. But we must thank his teacher in Class I, Sindhu, for instilling confidence in him,” says Ms. Sharmila.

Eco-friendly village, his project at the science fair displays a model village self-sufficient in food, water and energy sources. Speaker K. Radhakrishnan, who inaugurated the fair lauded Vaisakh for his achievements.

His earlier projects, a housing colony in moon, biogas plant, incinerator, and Chandraayan had won laurels at various fairs. Vaisakh says, he owes his success to his teachers and friends who stood by him. “They worked overtime to help me in my projects. And my parents are my biggest source of encouragement,” he says. The youngster believes one must not allow disability to come in the way of chasing one’s dreams.

Mini Muringatheri