Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Embracing life from a wheelchair

The story of two individuals who do what they can to continue living life to the fullest despite their disabilities.

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She lives with her father and younger sister in a small red house in the industrial area of Sungai Bakau in Rawang.

She enjoys sewing although she only knows some basic stiches, and hopes to one day own a sewing machine of her own.

Her father, Kalaiyarasu, also has impaired movements as he was involved in an accident in 2006, the same year Ilavarasi contracted a chronic neurological disease that left her hospitalised for months.

Ilavarasi spends most of her time at home and finds joy feeding the pigeons outside her house each day.

She and her sister also love spending time with their pet dog, Boy Kutty.

Each day, Ilavarasi prays for herself and her family.

Elsewhere, Jayaraj Santraju also struggles with life as a disabled person. He used to be an engineer in Singapore but lost mobility from the waist downwards after an accident where a piece of machinery fell on him.

Now, he sells ballpoint pens along the sidewalks in order to support himself and his family.

He is also the proud author of a book on how to adjust to life in a wheelchair, based on his own experience.

It is filled with useful tips and guides on how to achieve everyday activities.

Each day, Jayaraj prepares packets of pens to sell with a little help from his son.

Accompanied by his son who goes out to the porch to see him off, he puts on his shoes and heads out to do what he can to earn a living for his family.

It’s a tricky process getting into the car and folding the wheelchair to be kept at the backseat, but Jayaraj is used to it by now.

His son waits until he is ready to go, and then waves good-bye as he leaves the compound.

When he arrives at his usual spot, Jayaraj parks the car and wheels himself up the pavement.

He is often met with polite rejection although he works hard to joke and hold friendly conversations with passersby.

He always takes along a few copies of his book to sell alongside the pens, and is careful to let customers know that he is not asking for charity although he appreciates their help.

He is always glad when someone stops to chat and to buy a packet of pens or book.

He stays at his post all day until he has finished selling his wares.

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