Restricted mobility arising out of partial paralysis or other medical conditions can be severely debilitating.
India’s track record regarding inclusive environment and accessibility for the differently-abled is nothing to be proud of, and the government urgently needs to invest in making its public spaces more inclusive and disabled-friendly. And this is not just limited to restrooms and toilets.
Countless people in the country have been suffering from the government’s apparent lack of interest and apathy in this regard, and 60-year-old Sasi was one among them.
A native of Vilappilsala in Thiruvananthapuram, Sasi used to be a coconut tree climber until a fall from a tree left him paralysed from the waist below. He couldn’t stand up or extend his hands freely. A three-wheeled scooter seemed to be the only option for Sasi for movement, and he requested his village panchayat authorities to help him out.
However, his request was rejected by concerned officials, who pointed out the lack of a proper pathway leading to his home as a reason.
Sasi didn’t let his disability overcome his wish and instead, he set out to carve a path through a 150 feet high hill that led to his home.
For the next three years, he crawled every day and using only a pickaxe and a spade, cut a pathway 200 feet long and 5 feet wide all by himself. Sadly, even after the pathway took form, the panchayat officials didn’t concede to Sasi’s request, reports Mathrubhumi, a local daily.
However, upon knowing his story and the years of hard work that went in the making of the road, some compassionate individuals teamed up and gifted Sasi a three-wheeled scooter. Unfortunately, his condition prevented Sasi from opening up his palm properly, because of which he could not receive the driving license needed to ride the scooter and continued to crawl along the path he made himself.
As they say, bad times never last too long. Sasi’s life took an incredible turn when a group of officials from the Antrix Corporation Limited in the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre gave him a gift he would never forget—an automatic wheelchair that could be controlled by sitting on it!
With this heart-warming intervention, Sasi now hopes to eke out a living by selling lottery tickets and look after his wife and two kids. In recognition of the man’s three years worth of blood and sweat, the residents in his village have named the path after Sasi.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)