In this tension-filled days in which many people think of ending their lives at the slightest provocation, 46-year-old lottery vendor Anto M, could well be an exception.
A paraplegic, the former construction worker had lost the movement of 70 percent of his body in a near-fatal accident near the MAJ Hospital at Edappally, Kochi on March 26, 1999.
Anto was returning to the construction site when a speeding auto rickshaw mowed him down. And the doctors at the Ernakulum Medical Centre (EMC) hospital, where a grievously hurt Anto had been rushed to, confirmed that he had suffered a major spinal injury which led to complete paralysis of the urinary bladder, bowels and both the legs.
With a family - including wife and two small daughters, aged three and five to tend to, the shattering news left Anto literally ‘looking down the barrel’. His misery had been compounded by the fact that he did not have any alternate means of income then. Despite the terrible misfortune that had come their way, Daisy Anto says that she never broke down and remained upbeat on the family’s future prospects. “I never cried, but thought of my daughters’ and husband’s future. Initially, we lived in one room. And most of the days we didn’t have anything to eat,” she says.
Meanwhile, Anto spend most of the insurance amount on his treatment and to pay off his debts. Although the doctors treating him believe that he could make a full recovery through a combination of proper medical treatment and physiotherapy, this would cost a none-too-small ` 2 Lakh plus. However, it would be well beyond Anto’s means.
He had handed over a written request to Chief minister Ommen Chandy, to get government help for securing a modified wheelchair, which will allow him to move around freely and sell the lottery, when the latter had come down here to inaugurate the Congress office at Thammanam. But Anto is still awaiting a response from the government.
“My dreams and life have been shattered. But, what to do, this is my life, I have to live it,” he says with a smile.