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My attitude is to never get defeated - My Take by Lata Ganesh Sadashiv, blind massage therapist

In My Take this week, blind massage therapist Lata Ganesh Sadashiv shares her journey from a small town in Maharashtra's Akola district to becoming an independent working woman in Mumbai.

I was a student of Class 10 in a village in Akola district when I got an eye infection. My father, who is a farmer, took me to the village doctor for treatment but my eyes did not get better. Later they took to me a better doctor in Nagpur, but it was too late to restore my vision.

It was a big setback for me and my family, and I had a hard time coping with this. When someone is late blind, the struggle it's a much bigger struggle because you have to learn everything from scratch. You have to be taught and guided right from the start.

Fortunately my aunt stepped in to guide us with the right advice. She said that I should get trained and skilled in some profession and my family sent me to a workshop where I learned tailoring and weaving.

Turning point

However, opportunities were few and my aunt suggested I move to Mumbai. Here I stayed at a working women's hostel in Dadar and joined a massage therapy program at the Victoria Memorial School for the Blind in Mumbai. It was a six-month program and I really enjoyed learning this. I knew I had found my calling as there was a lot of joy that I felt in healing someone.

I got a job at a massage center soon after finishing the program but I was not comfortable working nigh shifts. I then found out about the Sparsh Foot Spa, an initiative of the NGO Trinayani. I joined here and now I work as a therapist and I manage the office.

WIde exposure

My job also involves going to people's homes to give massages after they have been verified. People often call us when there are functions and we also have therapy sessions in malls.

It is not always smooth going. Many people refuse to let a blind person give them a massage because they consider it a sin. Then we also get people who don't want to pay the rate we charge or cheat us by giving us less. We also get asked odd questions like, 'how can blind people travel on a train or work'. We have to face everything.

My attitude is to never get defeated because if you get beaten, there is no life. You cannot live like that.

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