Follow up on the Manjunath Kalmani case… courtesy the Times Of India..
Read this and more at the epaper by Times of India..
And some more.. 🙂
Help for Manju pours in from around the world
Set For Reunion With Family After 8 Years
Risha Chitlangia | TNN
New Delhi: Manju is no longer abandoned. Vidyavathi, the 54-year-old mother of the software techie who lies paralyzed neck down at Safdarjung Hospital after being sent back from the US, is coming here to meet her boy, braving her frail health to travel from Koppal in Karnataka. The impending reunion after eight years will be a result of TOI’s front page report on Manjunath Kalmani on Saturday.
In fact, a lot more has happened. There has been a groundswell of worldwide support for Manju who went to the US on a H-1B visa, worked as a software engineer with weather.com, got laid off, and was involved in a crippling accident in May 2002. For five years, US doctors and support groups helped keep the quadriplegic in hospital.
But after his visa expired, he was transported back on March 5 and put in Safdarjung Hospital. Abandoned until Friday — even by his family, which appears to not have the means to look after the cripple who needs a respirator to breathe and 24-hour nursing for his every other need. ‘‘Where will the money come from?’’ his brother Sudhakar had despaired.
Well, money will hopefully not be such a big problem, given the volume of responses that have poured in. Reader after reader, dozens and scores of them, have written in to TOI offering help. And not just financial help — some of them volunteered to be at his bedside and alleviate his loneliness, while others sent in inspiring stories of other quadriplegics who despite their similar and crushing disabilities have not only managed to stay alive, but be productive too.
Like Rajinder Johar who has been paralyzed neck down and bedridden for the last 20 years. Writing about him, Kumud Mohan has said that Johar, along with his supportive family, founded the Family of Disabled which has so far helped get employment for 275 people with disabilities. She has said that with his mental skills intact, and his abilities with the computer — Manju has been communicating with the world on his blog by using the sip-n-puff mouth control device — the paralyzed techie had a brighter future.
Then there are letters of heartfelt empathy. Biplab, an Indian based in Houston, has written to give his own story. ‘‘I can relate to him. I am also a techie and I had a bad car accident three months ago.’’ He, too, had spinal injury — ‘‘but nothing compared to Manju’s’’ — and after being hospitalised for two months is now in rehab. ‘‘It’s time for positive action,’’ said Biplab.
Yes, it will require a lot of positive action for Manju’s rehabilitation. Doctors that TOI spoke to say that his best bet is a sophisticated wheelchair, which will have to be imported, and on which he can be strapped. A portable ventilator would help him with mobility. They spoke of many other sophisticated gadgets with which Manju can operate a computer — like sip-n-puff — and possibly carry out small things of life like ringing a bell or switching off the light.
All of this will require money. Manju will also require a lot of compassion and understanding. Who will provide it? A number of readers have written in to express their appreciation for the US and its people who, despite having no legal requirement to help him, kept him for five long years. ‘‘Which other country would support an immigrant for five years?’’ asked Atul. ‘‘Now it is the turn of the Indian government and its people to help Manju,’’ said Naveen.
With this outpouring of concern, Manju’s life could be set for yet another dramatic turn. One in which the despairing techie is touched with some hope. Perhaps the touch he would be seeking the most would be that of his mother’s on his forehead.
Want to aid Manjunath?
Numerous readers have written in to offer help for Manjunath while urging The Times of India to set up a fund for the helpless techie where they can send in money. In response to their request, the TOI has set up a fund for Manju. Readers who wish to send in contributions may write out a cheque in favour of ‘Times Foundation’. They should also send in a covering letter with ‘Manjunath’ written in the subject line. We will ensure that every rupee is used in Manju’s best interest.