In our lives, most of us expect people to be empathetic and compassionate towards us in times of our hardships. But the sad reality is, many people whom we call our close ones simply pretend to care about us. They ditch us as soon as we need something from them or when their own needs are fulfilled.
The story of this 43-year-old man L Selvanathan throws light into the bigotry present in our society and how one can turn the tables even when standing up on two feet seems impossible.
Born in Udumalpettai in Tamil Nadu, Selvanathan grew up with an elder brother and four younger sisters. Like every other children, he too wished that someday he would become a successful person after completing his studies. But his mother’s untimely death when he was in STD 8 ended all his hopes of pursuing higher education.
He was forced to quit school and work several odd jobs to suffice the needs of the family. He worked in various mills and factories and even went to Chennai to work as a cane driver.
It is said that what you seek, seeks you. Selvanathan’s aspiration for learning about everyday objects and their uses never died inside him. He met a man there who was proficient in electrical work and operation of household appliances. Though his work pressure didn’t allow Selvanathan to devote his time to learning, his determination to learn and educate himself made him devote at least some time for his learning process.
As if life couldn’t get worse
But in the year 2000, disaster struck his life as he met with an accident that damaged his spinal cord. The damage was irreversible and despite the best efforts of Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital, he was rendered paraplegic for life. But that wasn’t the end of Selvanathan’s misery.
In times like these, where we are rendered helpless, we look forward to the compassion and love from our nearest and dearest ones. But in his case, when his family came to know that he would never be able to walk on his two feet again, they stopped visiting him in the hospital and ultimately abandoned him. He was thus admitted to various charitable homes in the city.
Standing back up on two feet
However, a Samaritan came to his rescue and offered him a room near her house. She even got him some work in the meanwhile as he did not like being idle and always wanted to support himself.
“Even though I could not walk, I wanted to do something and prove to the society that I am capable,” he said.
With the help of an inmate of the shelter, he was in who happened to be a retired government official, Selvanathan started an electric business of assembling LED bulbs. They checked online for some companies and paid them an initial deposit of Rs 25,000.
Those companies then sent them raw materials to be assembled and returned back. But working alone and that too as a paraplegic, Selvanathan could manage to assemble only 100 pieces a month. So, the companies cancelled the orders and terminated his contract as he was sending small consignments.
Though he was devastated at first, he was determined that he wouldn’t let his failure get the better of him. He tried to get in touch with many more companies and eventually managed to get some contract-based jobs.
Notwithstanding his disabilities, Selvanathan put his heart and soul into his work and over the years, he managed to earn a few lakh rupees selling them across the country. Just last year, with the help of some sponsors, he completed an order of assembling 600 LED bulbs for a company in New Delhi.
Selvanathan’s life became almost useless as his family abandoned him when he needed them the most. But instead of crying over spilt milk, he decided to take the onus on himself to create and life out of nothing. He is an inspiration and example of what determination can do to change a person’s life forever.
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