Yesurajan P has big dreams — the 29-year-old from Vallampadugai village in Cuddalore district wants to go abroad to work someday.
The foot reflexologist and an expert in acupressure at Page 3 Luxury Salon by Naturals, Nungambakkam, speaks animatedly about what he does. “My parents were in the field of naaatu marundhu (traditional medicine). I like working on people’s feet because it is connected to every part of the body. For instance, the big toe is connected to the head,” he says.
The visually-challenged youth commutes by bus and it takes him two hours from his home in Avadi to his work place. Why not work somewhere closer? The rents and cost of living aside, the major reason, he says, is that he stays with his friends. Living where he does, he spends about `3,000 and manages to send home about `6,000.
His father passed away a few years ago. His two sisters are married, and he says his mother is really proud of him. “About 15 years ago, I came out of Vallampadugai and went to Poonamallee School for the visually challenged. After that, I trained in reflexology,” says Yesurajan, who has worked in the Naturals group of salons for two years.
Today, along with another employee, he handles about five customers on weekdays and the number rises on weekends. “Customers are very supportive,” he smiles.
Speaking about the attitude in his village towards persons with disabilities, he says that he was the only visually- challenged person and there was not much awareness. “In the city, there are many like me and they are more educated. People here are also aware of the problems the disabled face,” he says.
Yesurajan is happy with the way things have worked out. “I finished my schooling and now I have a job. I just want to convey to the world that we can also achieve big things,” he says.
Before winding up, Yesurajan whips out his smartphone and asks for this journalist’s phone number. “You use a touch phone!” remarks the journalist. “Simple. With frequent use, you will know where the numbers are. There is a ‘talk back’ option. When you press something, the software reads out what you pressed. But you have to press everything twice to confirm,” he says, keying in the number.