Raju has done it again. Y Raju, 59, who has been paralysed in his lower limbs since the age of twoand- a-half years, successfully completed touring the state of Goa and returned here covering a distance of over 2500 km in his selfmodified hand-driven car. He took up the challenging task in May this year and completed the expedition successfully. However, he would say it was just another journey for him. Taking up tasks seemingly challenging even for physically fit people and completing it successfully in an amazing manner has been a habit of Raju, who hails from Kowdiar in the city. He is working as instructor at the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for Handicapped, Ministry of Labour and Employment (DGIE and T), here. “In fact, it was just another journey to me. I had visited majority of states in the country except Jammu and Kashmir and North- Eastern States. I had taken my scooter with me during my visit to those states. But this was the first time that I set out on a journey outside Kerala in my car,” he said. Raju said that his background in electronics and his inborn talent in inventing equipment for the disabled had helped him alter the Santro car. He modified the clutch, accelerator and steering to suit him at a moderate cost of Rs 3,000. “I have altered at least 40 other cars for the benefit of people like me. Over 150 scooters were also altered to suit the users,” he said. However, he is worried about the attitude of the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) in giving registration to such altered vehicles. He had to represent the Union Ministry of Road and Shipping to get the nod for his altered car. The MVD finally gave him the Registration Certificate (RC) with the Union Government’s intervention in the category of Invalid Carriage Light Motor Vehicle. Raju said that no disabled would wish to get disabled any more and they would be extra cautious while driving. He has been carrying valid driving licence for the past 28 years without causing any accident. Raju, however, revealed that he had notched 120 km per hour while driving on Express Highways. “Handicap is not a sin. It is a blessing in disguise. It gives you the opportunity to make others inspire through your different approach to life” he says. Perseverance, resolve and spirit of adventure made Raju what he is today. After completing matriculation Raju studied radio engineering and got appointed as instructor at VRC for handicapped under the Union Labour Ministry here. The 31 years of service at the VRC has earned him several recognitions and awards. “I have participated in hundreds of programmes aimed at confidence building among physically-disabled people. I feel satisfied when my efforts make some change in their lives,” he said. He is actively participating in the works of ‘Snehasadan’ a forum for the care and protection of people suffering from cancer at Pattom run by Malankara Catholic Association. As the international day of the disabled is observed on Tuesday, Raju also want the people not to sympathise with the handicapped. Instead they should be treated as equal human beings and persuade them to live like any other normal human being. His wife Omana and children Arpitha and Arpith have also been of great support to him in his ventures.