V. Murugeswaran was a young man when a motorcycle accident in 1988 left him wheelchair-bound. Initially, he refused to accept his condition and was hoping against hope that doctors would be able to do something to help him walk again.
When he was eventually moved to a ward for patients with spinal injuries, the reality of his situation hit home hard.“I saw the wheelchairs and thought to myself, this is not the life I want. My world is different. I don’t want to be a part of this world.”
Murugeswaran, whose father died when he was 14, had always worked to support himself, even as a schoolboy, but now faced the prospect of being dependent on others. A job offer from a group of friends brought a ray of hope. That, and the fact that he learnt to drive and was soon mobile. For the first time since the accident, he felt confident that he could be gainfully employed.
He eventually got another job as a telephone operator at a trading company, convincing the management to take him on despite the fact that they were looking for a female employee and did not have a disable-friendly environment. He remained there for 15 years, getting promoted along the way and picking up invaluable computer knowledge.
He also found time to become an advocate for the rights of the disabled and is one of the founding members of the Damai Disabled Persons Association of Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan. Now working as a customer care coordinator and recently married, Murugeswaran has much to look forward to.
“I couldn’t see it then, but the accident was an opportunity not just to make changes in my own life but in the lives of others as well. Through Damai I have had the opportunity to impact the lives of other disabled people in a positive way.”