​Kerala auto driver builds a 'cycle auto' for daughter with cerebral palsy

The new vehicle has an outer body just like the autorickshaw, but can be ridden only through pedalling.
Suresan family
Suresan family
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The painful sight of his daughter crying loudly looking at the way he went riding his auto remained in Sureshan’s mind the whole day. He knew that the only thing that made his daughter happy was a ride in his auto rickshaw.

That is why Sureshan M of Kanjangad in Kasaragod district made an auto rickshaw for his daughter. He rides an auto rickshaw for a living and before the pandemic, he used to take out his 14-year-old daughter Sneha, who has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user, for long rides twice or thrice a week.

"Those rides made her happy. In fact that is the only time she is so happy. So I used to take her out always in the auto. But during lockdown it stopped. After relaxations were announced I started going to work," he says.

But he could not take Sneha for usual rides as she refused to use masks. "She would throw the masks as soon as we placed them on her face. So her favourite rides were not possible. But when I go to work she cries a lot. Looking at my auto she keeps on crying. That was unbearable for me," Sureshan told TNM.

That is when he decided to make an auto for Sneha. The outer covering looks just like an autorickshaw but it has no engine and can be ridden like a cycle. Two months ago he started working on it. He used fiber sheets, iron rods, plastic sheets, wood and plywood to construct the body of the vehicle.

"There is no engine, it can be ridden by pedalling, just like a cycle. So that her mother can take her for a ride when I am not at home. She loves to travel in the 'cycle auto'. After a ride she doesn't even want to come out of it. She thinks that it is real," he said.

Sureshan's 'cycle auto' has a specially arranged seat for Sneha with belts for safety. When he was young he used to make still models of vehicles, the experience helped him to build an auto model for his daughter.

It cost around Rs 15,000 for him to make the vehicle. He worked only in the mornings and evenings to make it as he had to go for work at any time. With that it took him two months to complete the work.

Sneha was diagnosed with cerebral palsy soon after her birth.

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