Neeraj George’s 300-km ride is all about determination and courage
Para badminton player Neeraj George’s journey has been all about grit, courage and lots of determination. George had to amputate his left limb after an attack of bone cancer in the year 1996. Throughout his life, this 31-year-old has made sure that he does all that his heart tells him to. The latest one being, a 300-km ride on a two-wheeler from Kochi to Wayanad in Kerala. George drove on his ride, a Vespa which he lovingly calls Lapin (meaning ‘rabbit’ in French). He shares his thrilling and exciting experience with Newzhook readers.
George decided to ride to Wayanad from his hometown in Kochi to attend a close friend’s wedding. He was to go with friends in a car, but the plan got cancelled. He thought of taking a bus or train. But as someone who uses crutches he did not want to because of accessibility issues. That is when he thought, why not ride all the way to Wayanad. He could save a lot of time, does not have to go though accessibility hassles and can attend his friend’s wedding too!
My friends and family did not agree to my idea. But I had made up my mind that I’am going to attend my friend’s marriage. The only option I had was to ride all the way till there. My destination was a place called Mananthavadi, which was in the interiors of Wayanad. It was not an easy ride, but I’am glad that I did it. The ride was an eye-opener to me in many ways- Neeraj George.
George recollects that his biggest challenge was the rains that poured all throughout the journey! Potholes and blurry vision due to fog added to it. But like how wise men say, a strong mind beats all obstacles on the path.
“Since I had my crutches tied to my Vespa, many people were staring at me. A few people stopped their bikes to ask me what happened to my leg! It was hilarious. So there is this place where you have to go climb on your ride to the top. But due to rains and fog I couldn’t see anything. But two cars, one in my front and another at the back, came with me till I reached the end of the place. It made things easier for me because I just couldn’t see anything. Maybe these car drivers saw my crutches and stuff. In fact, people in Kerala are great to riders”, adds George.
This youngster reached his destination in seven hours after making pit stops for lunch and dinner. He had his protective gears up to the mark. George says that he was welcomed by his friends at the destination, who were obviously awed and thrilled at his determination!
“Even the locals, who heard about me riding and coming, gathered to welcome me. They were just amazed. I believe that a disability just does not determine what you can or cannot do. If everything goes right and your heart tells you to do it, then you must do it. Be prepared to face obstacles on the path. But that is the whole fun about it! For a rider, planning is also important. After hearing my plan to ride on a Vespa, my family and friends tried to stop me thinking of my safety. But here I’am, talking to you about the fun and thrilling ride that I had”, signs off George.
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