Human Interest
"I may never be able to feed myself, but my venture is feeding 40 people and their families,” Ganesh proudly says.

There are success stories, and then there are unbelievable success stories. The life of the man behind Moodabidri-Karkala’s famous firm, GK Decorators, is one such tale.

Ganesh Kamath is the proprietor of GK Decorators – the company that has provided sound, lighting and other equipment for several mega events in the region, including the recently conducted Dharma Sansad in Udupi. He is also a double amputee, who lost both his hands in an electrical accident several years ago.

A Class 7 dropout, Ganesh Kamath used to work for an electrical contractor. In 2001, at an event is Karkala, Ganesh’s employer asked him to scale a 29-foot scaffolding to fix a light bulb on a floodlight.

"I was connecting the lights, when somehow I lost my balance and fell down,” Ganesh says. That is the last he remembers of the incident, until he woke up in the hospital, with both his hands amputated.

Ganesh’s hands had come into direct contact with the cables that were right next to a pole nearby, and he was electrocuted. By the time the crew and the local residents rescued him from the live wires, both his hands were severely injured. At the hospital, the doctors had to amputate both his hands.

The then-25-year-old Ganesh then slipped into depression. "I hail from an economically poor background. My first thought was that my hands were my only source of income,” Ganesh says.

“I was responsible for my family. If not for my hands, how would I do my job?" he recalls asking himself.

It took Ganesh three months to recover from the physical injury and trauma from the incident, and he was given prosthetic limbs.

Back at his former job, Ganesh says he was deeply hurt by a passing remark made by his fellow employee. "What good is he without his hands?" they said loudly. And before long, Ganesh was fired from his job. It was the same firm, where three months ago, Ganesh was regarded as one of the most valuable assets. He had worked at the organisation for 13 years.

Besides some money that he received as insurance, Ganesh was left without any money or any source of income. "Around that time I had even contemplated committing suicide," he says.

But a few weeks later, a chance encounter with a relative changed everything. The relative advised him not to be dejected, and remarked that he saw ‘Rajayoga’ in Ganesh’s face. "His intention might have been just to cheer me up, but at that time, I was so upset with my life that even those few words gave me a very big ray of hope," Ganesh says

With whatever money he had left from his accident insurance, Ganesh decided to fight to reclaim his destiny. The Moodabidri native bought two music systems, that he started renting out for weddings and public events.

Initially, he used to earn just about Rs 350 a day. Today, Ganesh Kamath’s firm, GK Decorators, has a turnover that runs into lakhs of rupees a month.

For the last 16 years, GK Decorators has not only been leasing out equipment, they also cater for weddings and public events. In just the last few years, Ganesh has taken up several mega events, with the crowds ranging between 30,000 and 50,000 people per day.

GK Decorators is quite a popular name in the Moodabidri-Karkala area, and employs 40 semi-skilled workers.

A few years ago, Ganesh got married to a former colleague, Latha, and the couple have a seven-year-old daughter.

Ganesh has to rely on his wife and well wishers to accomplish daily chores because of his disability. But, as he says proudly, "I may never be able to feed myself, but my venture is feeding 40 people and their families.”

The businessman takes time out to speak to other people with disabilities and inspire them with his story. "I tell them not to give up hope, or resort to begging, or contemplate self harm or death. It is up to us to take initiative and make the best of what life can offer us," he says.

Story provided by www.storyinfinity.com (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures.)