Stone-cutters Burusu Amduru Raju (49) and his wife Revathi toil every day and save each penny only to spend their entire savings to give away helmets free of cost twice a year. Strange it may sound, but they have been doing this for the past eight years unfailingly to keep their word to their daughter before she breathed her last.
The couple from Thettu village of Kurabalakota mandal in Madanapalle division observe the birth and death anniversaries of their daughter Pavani by distributing helmets to two-wheeler riders in and around Madanapalle and some areas bordering with Karnataka and Anantapur, to honour her last wish.
“If I am no more, see me in all those who do not wear helmets. Give away a couple of helmets to such people on my death anniversary,” Mr. Raju recalls his beloved daughter’s words that still ring in his ears. Pavani fell from a bike and suffered an internal head injury, which the family had not taken seriously due to illiteracy and poverty. A few days later, on November 23, at the age of eight she succumbed to the injury. On her death anniversary and also birth anniversary, which coincides with International Women’s Day, Mr. Raju distributes helmets to bike riders who do not wear one.
“We find happiness in our work and keeping the promise made to our Pavani,” says Mr. Raju expressing concern over the growing number of accidents and stressing the need for both bike riders and pillion riders to take safety measures like wearing helmets.
The couple never compromises on the quality of the helmets they distribute to the public. A dealer in Bengaluru who knows their plight supplies them helmets without a profit. Though Mr. Raju presents about 500 helmets annually, he refrains from getting photographed during the distribution.
“Though I have been goading the youth to wear helmets, the response has not been encouraging. I feel the compulsory helmet rule should be implemented ruthlessly to protect and lives and happiness of many families,” says Mr. Raju.
He plays an active role each year during the road safety awareness weeks organised by the police and transport departments.