Banarpal: He might have been born with disability. But his determination and hard work has given him a new identity. He has used his disability as a weapon of strength and created a niche for himself in the society.
Meet Prakash Seth, 43, of Kangula under Angul block, a most sought after bike mechanic in the block. He has been through the ups and downs of life from a tender age, but it is his strong will that has given him a new identity.
Reminiscing about his childhood, Seth says, “I was born with polio. It wasn’t a normal childhood for me like other children. I had to go through a lot of suffering due to the disease.”
His parents got him admitted to a local school. However, it wasn’t an easy task for Seth to trek to the school and back home every day. He felt left out as he could not match his friends.
“I also wanted to play, run and go in group with my friends to school. But, I was always left out alone. No one wanted to be friends with me due to my disability. It isn’t as easy as it seems for a disabled person like me. I would curse God for making me like this,” Seth says.
However, he continued his studies till Class IX.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t too good at studies. One day my teacher thrashed me for not doing my homework and that was the last day in school,” Seth quips.
He left school in fear of his teacher. Despite all efforts by his parents, he was determined not to go to school anymore, but instead put his first step into some profession and extend a helping hand to his family.
However, he was turned away and not given any work due to his disability. Later, he joined his elder brother’s garage and helped him in the repair work.
Initially, he was put to just clean the garage. But, slowly he developed interest in repairing and has become a pro over the years.
Thirty years have passed since he started working as mechanic. Looking back, he says he is happy that he has chosen the present profession. He also thanks people who joked on his disability and turned him away.
“Was I not turned away then, I would have been washing utensils in a hotel or working as a daily wager. Now, I earn enough and live a life of dignity,” he says.
In a message to youngsters, he says, “Make your weakness your strength. Don’t ever survive on people’s sympathy.”