It’s serenity, vistas of emerald green hills and swaying coconut trees, which just soothes the soul.
But this time 2 For The Road was not just going to explore Kerala’s natural beauty, we were going to be truly inspired!
Biju Varghese was just like any other 20 year old electrician and mechanic until the day of the accident, when he was hit by a speeding bus. He ended up with a severely damaged spinal cord and came out of it grateful to be alive, even if in a wheel chair. With determination and courage, he fought back, and invented a retrofit kit – a simple mechanical device that can be installed into any car so it can be driven using only the left hand!
Biju, Juby, and their son, George Kutty, live in a cute yellow bungalow near the village of Mukkuttuthara. We laughed and struggled our way through a hodgepodge of Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, and English, and received the warmest welcome and a delicious lunch.
I quickly beat that drowsy post lunch feeling by taking a close look at the modification kit. With cables and levers it was a little hard to understand how it would work. And then I heard myself asking Biju, ‘Could I try it please?’ With Biju’s blessing and guidance, I jumped into the driver’s seat and tried his system, hands on.
The manually controlled operating system took some getting used to. I had to push the clutch down with my palm and release slowly, while the middle fingers had to release the brake, but the index had to push down a lever to accelerate. We felt the car inch forward – it was incredible! I could literally feel my brain hard at work diverting my clutch/brake/accelerate signals, directly to my left hand. While my feet tap-danced below, I was driving a car in a way I never imagined.
I was amazed and truly humbled by this experience. We tend to take a lot for granted in our lives, until we learn of an inspirational story that might just change us for the better!