K. Ragesh, a resident of Pallikkara gram panchayat in Kasaragod, is a man with true grit. Paralysed from waist down, the 37-tear-old is all set to explore the country in his Tata Nano soon.
Until about 13 years ago, he led a normal life, enjoying playing football and having a good time with his friends. He was working in Dubai then. However, a tumour that was detected in his spinal cord changed his life. Though he survived, the surgery left him paralysed from waist down. He became bedridden.
Initially, it was all disappointment. Questions about how he will spend the rest of his life bothered him. But, gradually, watching YouTube videos of differently abled people travelling across the State and the country lent him hope and confidence. His friends too came as a source of support.
"I was apprehensive, but I realised that physical disability is not a problem. The problem lies in the mind. Once we realise this, we are free to explore the world just like any one else," says Ragesh.
He soon bought a two-wheeler which he modified and started a lottery business to earn his livelihood. Though his family supported him, Ragesh says he preferred to be independent.
Even as he went ahead with selling lottery tickets, he cherished the dream of travelling across the country. That is when he decided to buy a Tata Nano car after availing of a loan. He modified the vehicle to suit his needs, which helped him travel independently.
He eventually fulfilled his desire to travel by visiting several places within Kerala and those in the neighbouring States. However, a long journey still remained a distant dream. He worked hard and saved money to realise this dream as well.
Now, Ragesh will be starting his month-long journey from Kasaragod to Kashmir on October 5. For support, he will be accompanied by his cousins who have expressed their desire to join him after seeing his determination.