THRISSUR: Taunts became a part of life for Goputtan aka Haridas, a native of Poonkunnam in Thrissur. It hurt him more when they came from family and friends, too. That hurt, however, made the 4.3ft-tall youth stand tall, towering over his peers. Goputtan, 29, converted pain into passion. A passion for body-building, which won him a bronze medal at the Amateur Olympia India held recently in Mumbai. Today, he is a popular figure in Thrissur. And the taunts don’t hurt him anymore.
“The dream of becoming a body-builder took root around the time when I completed Class 12,” says Goputtan. “I was inspired after watching Suriya’s film Ghajini.”
Once while waiting in line for tickets to the film Punyalan Agarbathis, Goputtan met fitness trainer Vishnu V. Pradeep, who later became his motivator and coach. “It has been 8 years since I started training under Vishnu,” says Goputtan, who returned from Mumbai just a couple of days ago.
“Initially, it was arduous as most training equipment were designed for comparatively taller people. Vishnu stood with me throughout the training those days, and helped me get comfortable with the equipment. Whenever I felt frustrated or low, he boosted my morale to stay focused on my dream.”
In 2017, Goputtan won the ‘Mr Thrissur’ title under the ‘physically challenged’ category. Later he became Mr Kerala. And, in March this year, he was proclaimed Mr India (physically challenged category) at the national championship held in Chennai.
This paved the way for his participation in the Amateur Olympia, where he competed with 40 participants from various countries.
“Earlier, my neighbours and friends used to identify me as ‘Goputtan, the shorty’. Now, that has changed to ‘Mr India Goputtan’. What more do I need to sustain my passion?”