What may come across as a stroke of bad luck might be a blessing in disguise.
Recently, I discovered how marvellously true this saying is.
And best of all, it doesn’t matter if you happen to be a person with a disability.
I had the pleasure of meeting an inspiring gentleman by the name of Theeban Vengadesh recently.
For six years, Theeban was in a happy relationship with a girl who had agreed to marry him. He worked as a lorry assistant and driver and took every opportunity to visit his sweetheart whenever he passed her way on his job routes around the country. They had met each other’s parents and everything had been set for their big day.
Then something horrible happened that changed everything.
Two years ago, Theeban was fixing the canvas on his lorry when a forklift driven by another worker crashed into his lorry. The impact was so great that it caused Theeban to be thrown off the lorry. He flew several feet in the air and landed on his back.
The dazed Theeban recalled being helped by his co-workers, but when they attempted to lift the young man off the ground, Theeban heard his spinal cord snap and he passed out.
When he finally woke up, he was in hospital surrounded by health professionals. The doctors broke the hard news to him that he would not be able to walk again.
That was hard to accept, but he did not expect the reaction of his fiancée.
“She visited me only once in the hospital,” said Theeban.
“When she discovered that I was paralysed, she stopped coming. She refused to take my calls. Her family’s reaction towards me also soured,” Theeban added.
Even his doctors felt sorry for their patient. They thought that he would not be able to pull through his depression.
However, after a failed suicide attempt the young man bounced back. He decided to give life all he had.
Theeban went through gruelling physiotherapy at the hospital for nearly nine months and learnt to live again.
It was during this time that he met his new girlfriend, a nurse named Anu, who turned his life around.
“It wasn’t a typical ‘love at first sight’ encounter,” Theeban laughed, when I asked him about it.
“I was about to cross the road to get to the hospital when I noticed this kind nurse who was looking at me.
“I beckoned to her for help. And that was the start of a whole new world for me, as well as for her.
“She looks after me as no one possibly can. I love her deeply and care for her tremendously.
“Anu and I go about almost anywhere,” said Theeban. “She is never shy or afraid to take me out in her car.”
In fact, when people stop to stare at the couple, Anu or Theeban just smile at them and say they are very much in love – and that the date for their wedding is being discussed.
Both sides of the family are delighted by the latest developments.
For both Anu and Theeban, it is a life that neither had expected.
Theeban has organised a surprise outing for Anu on Valentine’s Day on Tuesday.
When I tried to get some hints on what he was planning to do, Theeban was completely tight-lipped about it.
Zest for life
All he was willing to say was how foolish he felt for trying to take his life before.
Theeban, who currently lives and trains at the Independent Living and Training Centre (ILTC) in Rawang, Selangor, is out to take life as it comes his way.
“What initially seemed to be a stroke of bad luck turned out to be a good thing for me,” said a beaming Theeban.
His advice to others in the same position is never to give up on life, no matter what.
“Just when you think that life is not worth living, hang in there for true love will eventually find you,” he concluded.
Theeban is currently learning social skills, and how to use the computer and ride a motorcycle at the ILTC.
He and his future wife intend to adopt a toy dog as a pet.