Blind coconut tree climber bed-ridden after fall

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 14 (IANS) This Kerala man conquered a major disability – blindness – to expertly shine up coconut trees but life played another cruel joke on him a few months ago as he fell down from a jackfruit tree and since then has been lying paralysed with a spinal injury.

Najeem, 43, who lives with his wife Naseema and two children near Nedumangad on the city’s outskirts, was born blind but did his best to live a normal life, becoming an accomplished coconut tree climber.

Naseema, who ekes out a living by cleaning state transport buses said life had turned for the worse for all of them a few months back.

“Ours was a love marriage and right from his childhood, Najeem, despite being blind, used to love to climb coconut trees. He used to go up a tree and just by touching the coconuts, he would correctly cut all the ripe coconuts,” Naseema told IANS.

She said they were leading a happy life as with his income and her wages of under Rs.4,000 a month, they were able to educate their two girls – one in class 9 and the other in class 10.

Four months back, everything came crumbling down when Najeem was on his job.

“After plucking coconuts in one home, he was called by another person to pluck a jack fruit. After plucking the jackfruit, as he was coming down the tree, another jackfruit from above fell on head and he lost his balance and came crashing down,” she said.

“He was hospitalised for 23 days at the Medical College hospital here and underwent a spinal operation. It’s four months since and can’t sit or stand or walk on his own. Why is life so cruel to him?” asked a deeply saddened Naseema.

On Friday an NGO working for the under-privileged gifted Najeem a wheel chair.

“After his fall, we are at the mercy of people because with just my very small wages, we can’t go forward,” lamented Naseema, who has now decided to approach Chief Minister Oommen Chandy for help.

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