She taught us that you don’t need two feet to stand up on your own.
Born in a poor family in a remote village of Tadepalligudem in A.P, Laxmi was diagnosed with Polio at an age of 3 years. “I didn’t sit back cursing my fate”, says Laxmi who is 25 years old now, and is the most active and enthusiastic member of a Hyderabad based surprise company-Oye Happy.
When she turned 5 years old, her parents admitted her to a local government school. They were determined to see her educated, despite not being able to make both ends meet. But the days that followed were that of horror for her and her parents. She was mocked and teased for being ‘disabled’ and not tall enough like her classmates. And she was compelled to drop out of school. This incident, she says was a turning point in her life. Her disability haunted her and she spent the next few days crying. But with every passing day, she realised her tears wouldn’t change anything, she would still remain disabled for life. And then she decided to bounce back, accept her disability and be independent like everyone else. “I couldn’t walk like others, neither did my height increase. I’m 4’2 even now. But I believe that my disability is what makes me stand out”,says Laxmi with the most innocent smile anyone could have.
As she grew, her parents were worried on who’d marry her. “A disabled woman can never be a ‘good wife’”, Laxmi says wearing the most unregretful smile. At 22, she enrolled herself for a computer training course under a government scheme in her village. And after completing the course, she decided to move to Hyderabad to find a job and support her parents.
While we rant about not being satisfied with our luxurious jobs, sitting on roller chairs in air-conditioned offices, here’s a woman who walks a distance of 4-5kms daily. Her disability doesn’t allow her to climb the steps of even a public bus. What would surprise all of us is that, no matter when she left the office, at the usual time or late at night, she’d still be present at office at 10 in the morning every day.
“Physically, I can’t stand up tall on my feet, like all of you. But in life, I really want to be independent and stand up on my feet”, Laxmi says when asked what motivates her in life. From moving all around the stock room to picking different gifts and packing each of them beautifully before sending them out to customers, Laxmi believes that she’s being a part of people’s happiness indirectly. And you’ll be surprised to know that the only break she takes is to have her lunch. She might not directly push us to give in our best, but watching her do her work, wearing that everlasting smile motivates each one of us. And not to forget- you ask her for any help, she’d not pause a moment to agree.
Unfortunately, she had to return to her village as her mother has fallen critically ill. But, she’s one of those beautiful people whose smiling face will remain tattooed in anyone’s mind who has seen her even once.