When Prodduturi Pulliah (30) lost both his arms in an accident — and with it the ability to drive an auto all by himself — he thought it was the end of the world for him.
Confined to bed for over a year post-accident, he would often agonise over his fate and that of his wife and children.
But then, when the creditors whom he owed Rs 70,000 for his treatment came knocking at his door, he decided to change his destiny with his own hands.
Today, barely a year later, he is firmly on his feet, driving an auto rickshaw, taking care of his family and slowly paying off his debts. He, however, does not drive the auto alone — his wife, Rani, lends him a helping hand.
While he lowers the accelerator and presses the clutch, she shifts gears.
Initially, the two-driver auto would draw curious onlookers. But with time, people in the area have gotten used to the husband-wife duo. The couple plies their vehicle in the A Konduru-Vissannapet route, a stretch of 35 kms, making five to six round-trips a day.
“I had nothing apart from the auto rickshaw and a loan of Rs 70,000. I knew I had to take charge of my life. So, I decided to go back to driving. I taught my wife how to shift gears while I manage the clutch, accelerator and brake with my legs,” Pulliah said.
As for Rani, she says, "I am not aware of what is going on outside. My eyes are focused only on my husband’s movements. When he lowers the accelerator and presses the clutch with his left leg, I shift the gear."