B. V. Narayana, a physically challenged Indian, is a man on a mission. He is driving across two dozen countries in Asia, the Middle-East and Europe on a custom-built motorbike, with the aim of spreading awareness about preventable disabilities.
By undertaking this arduous and challenging journey, and interacting with disabled people on the way, Mr. Narayana is demonstrating through his example that determination and perseverance has the power to overcome most disabilities.
After starting his journey last October from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Narayana has traveled on his specially adapted five-wheel motorbike across Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and is currently in Kuwait. In an interview with The Times Kuwait, Mr. Narayana shares his experience in overcoming challenges, following an accident that impaired his mobility. He also speaks about the ‘common-sense’ precautions that people can take to avoid accidents that could leave them or their loved ones permanently disabled.
Tell us more about yourself:
I have always been adventurous, during an earlier trip I had visited 59 countries covering nearly 90,000 kilometers on a bicycle. Even before meeting with an accident nearly five years ago, I used to work with disabled; from my workshop in Bangalore, India, I used to modify motorbikes for the physically disabled. However, it was only after my accident that I truly understood how important mobility was for those physically challenged; so here I am now, trying to send a message to the world.
There are a number ofincidents taking place around the world that cause disability: accidents due to carelessness, parents ignoring the importance of polio drops which leads to a lifetime of regret, drinking and driving, using cell phones while driving, marrying close blood relatives and so many more. If a child is born handicapped there is nothing one can do about it but if someone is not then why should they take a risk to ruin theirs or someone else’s life. My aim here is to create awareness about disability and if I can save at least 10 lives out of every 1000 I meet then I am satisfied.
Can you brief us on your inventions?
My first invention was a bike that resembled an open car with five wheels. It has two extra seats on the sides and could accommodate four people. The other was a specially designed wheelchair. Someone at that time had suggested that buying an automatic wheelchair from abroad was not only expensive but also difficult to repair. So I decided to create a similar one which was battery operated along with special facilities so that the user can sleep, eat, read and even use a laptop while in the chair. It is highly flexible and can be used in several ways. From the mechanical point of view, the product is also easy to repair.
Can you elaborate on the goals of your campaign and do you think you are reaching the audience you desired?
My main goal is to reach as many people as possible. At times it is not possible due to certain circumstances but I am happy to know that my message is reaching to the public.
What inspired you then and now to motivate others?
All I wanted then was to help the handicapped but after I became one, I felt the need to do more and prevent it from happening to others. There are many in our country who readily offer help in the beginning but back out in the end. I do not want to be one of them. I want to give something in return to my country.
What advice would you give to parents and youth?
Children mostly do not listen to their parents because parents have over the years pampered and given them whatever they have asked. When such children do not get what they want, they turn rogue and get into bad business. My advice is for parents to enhance their parenting skills and not to give everything that their children demand. At times they have to be strict to make sure of the child’s healthy growth.
What is your most memorable experience so far?
My most memorable experience was meeting the then president of the United States, Jimmy Carter. He was walking from the White House to the helipad. Although it was a short meet, it is my most treasured one.
What is your next stop from Kuwait?
After Kuwait I plan to travel to Iran and thento Europe.
What are your future plans?
I am planning on designing a three-in-one vehicle that can travel on road, fly like a helicopter and also move on water. It is something that should be able to help everyone. For instance, if there is a medical emergency and the ambulance is stuck in traffic, this motor should be able to take off so that a life can be saved. I am looking for a company to sponsor this venture because this is such a noble cause and I am open to any such opportunity.
- Nikita Ferrao