Disabled MCom veggie vendor is PhD in taking life on with a smile, and winning
A polio survivor. A post graduate in Commerce. A vegetable vendor for the last 20 years. It did not stop Suryakanth Ghogare from living life to the fullestpune Updated: Mar 29, 2018 12:28 IST
Pune Life is about living to the fullest, but helping those in need,” is Suryakanth Ghogare’s view on life. He is 50-years-old. A polio survivor. A post graduate in Commerce. A vegetable vendor for the last 20 years.
Ghogare’s life unfolded in that order. He was born withpoliomyelitis, or infantile paralysis, an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus, due to which he lost the use of his hands and legs.
It did not stop him from living life to the fullest.
“I finished my education at the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) in 1996, a time when computers had just entered the markets. So, after I graduated, every time I would go in search of a job, the employment officer would refuse stating that my handicap would bar me from using the computer, an absolute requirement by that time. I feel that it was unfair and illogical because my qualification had made eligible for clerical jobs, which included account keeping and audit. The limitations in the minds of people limited my life,” is how Ghogare views it today.
He may have been rejected from one job after another, but Ghogare met the challenge by choosing to sell vegetables to make ends meet.
Selling vegetables at a market near Vishranthwadi, Alandi road, Ghogare married, raised a family with his wife Sushila Ghogare, who is also differently-abled, and educated both his sons.
His wife was born with a disability as well, which he is not comfortable talking about, but he does smile as he recalls how he fell in love and without any job, stepped up to her parents to seek permission their to marry her. “I did not have a job, but I promised them that I would never let her be unhappy, even for a day. I have not let that promise down,” he says.
With one son in junior college and the other preparing for Class 10, Ghogare refers to himself as a proud father.“I want to give my sons all that I couldn't get or do. They deserve it,” he says. Both his sons do not suffer any disability.
Eighteen-year-old Suyog Ghogare says, “My father is my inspiration and it is truly an honour to be born his son. Everyday I see this man wearing a smile and going to the bazaar, in the scorching heat, working hard just for us. It is the biggest driving force for me. I want to be the best version of myself and fulfil his dreams.”
Fourteen-year-old Sujan Ghogare adds, “Despite our humble earning, I have seen my father reach out to those in need and help them with whatever we have. And while doing so, he never sacrificed our education or basic necessities. He is the greatest father I could ever have.”
“The fact is, I never felt my handicap a limitation, despite the public mindset. At the end of the day, the country is infested with money and influence. I had none and in my hour of need, I did not get any social or political help, but I do my best to overcome it,” Ghogare says.
With an earning of Rs 9,000 a month from the vegetable shop, Ghogare still claims a blissful life.“Comfort can be bought through money, happiness is priceless and with my family I have got that. Somewhere the yearning to do what I deserve to do still lurks and so I try to do my best to provide for others what they deserve,” says Ghogare. In his spare time Ghogare teaches school children near his house in a Vishranthwadi slum and is also been involved in social activities to uplift the community there.