TIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Just because he is paralysed from the waist down doesn’t mean Suresh Kumar has lost his spirits. Hailing from Nedumangad, all this 44-year old man needs is his hands and willpower to eke a living. Come monsoon season, umbrellas made by Suresh will hit the market. Bedridden for the past 13 years, Suresh has been making umbrellas every year with as many as 300 ones sold before the rain starts. Anticipating the school reopening season, this year too he is busy creating another batch. His clients are mostly his neighbours and small-scale organisations.
Suresh Kumar diligently meets his target of making 10 umbrellas each day, which is sold at Rs 300 each.
It was a fateful fall from a tree that left him bedridden. But, nothing could down his determination. “I attended a workshop for handicapped people some five years ago where they taught us how to make soap powder and lotions. But, financial crunch and difficulties in travelling made it impossible to do that. It was then that I started making umbrellas,” says Suresh.
Once people started buying his hand-made umbrellas, his venture began to flourish. “I sell customised umbrellas, be it the three-fold or funky printed ones. I make it depending on their taste. In the months of May, June and July, I get orders in bulk from customers. There is no middle man in my business and I deliver the product via courier service,” says Suresh.
The raw materials are sourced from Deepam Umbrellas, a shop in Thrissur. “We source coloured sheets, ribs, shafts and handles from Thrissur. We use the best quality material and it is just that we don’t have a brand name yet,” adds Suresh.However, he is finding it tough to make 10 umbrellas per day these days owing to ailment. “I wish to continue making umbrellas. But, first of all, I want to brand these umbrellas as ‘Sethu’,” says an upbeat Suresh.
Besides being self-reliant, he is also a tutor at the rehabilitation programmes conducted by Pallium India where he teaches other paralytic patients to make umbrellas for the past three years.
Suresh has a son, Sethu, who studies in Class 6. His wife passed away six years ago. Suresh can be contacted on 9605569879.