While it is a common cliché that noone can share a child’s burden as willingly and lovingly as a parent, 48-year-old Murugan Yadav is an embodiment of this spirit of support.

Newspaper vendor Murugan Yadav carries his daughter Mahalakshmi, who is suffering from muscular dystrophy, to the exam centre every day
Newspaper vendor Murugan Yadav carries his daughter Mahalakshmi, who is suffering from muscular dystrophy, to the exam centre every day

The newspaper vendor in Navi Mumbai carries his teenage daughter Mahalakshmi in his arms every day to her exam centre, so she can write her paper. His daughter Mahalakshmi (17), who suffers from muscular dystrophy, has been immobile from the tender age of seven.

On each exam day, Murugan will be nearing his daughter in his arms right up to the exam hall, seat her there, and then leave. Once she is seated in the hall and starts writing her paper, Mahalakshmi easily blends in with the other students in her batch.

Murugan has made some changes to the carrier of his bicycle, so that Mahalakshmi can set herself comfortably while riding pillion, to reach her classes and exam halls
Murugan has made some changes to the carrier of his bicycle, so that Mahalakshmi can set herself comfortably while riding pillion, to reach her classes and exam halls

A commerce student from St Mary’s School in Vashi, she takes a ride on her father’s bicycle to her exam centre at R F Naik Junior College in Koparkhairane, seated on a special carrier installed in his bicycle for her. Speaking to MiD DAY, Mahalakshmi said, “If I am able to study today, it’s only because of my parents, and especially my father. He has always carried me to places in his arms, taking me to school, and now to college.

He will adjust his schedule according to my college timings, and make it a point to be on time, whether it is to pick me up or drop me somewhere. The school authorities also make it a point to make things convenient for me. If there is a change of classroom for a lecture, they try to make some adjustments and sit in the same class, as I am unable to move about.”

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Tough gets going
Mahalakshmi’s parents say that she was born without any physical defects. But as she started growing, they noticed that she could only move about and do everything very slowly. “Then her right leg turned abruptly, and we visited several doctors. After a point, she became immobile.

We were informed that she suffers from muscular dystrophy. Although we felt disheartened, we decided to take things in our stride. Since then, I have been carrying my daughter to school every day in my arms. She cannot move at all if I am not around. However, once she is placed in one particular spot, she manages to do all things by herself.”

The proud father added, “We do not need to put pressure on her to study; she has always been a very bright student. I want to educate her as much as she wants. Despite having taken no coaching, she is faring so well that I am very proud of her.

My bicycle seat is reversed, to take her wherever she wants. She makes an effort to do things independently as much as possible, which is wonderful,” said Murugan, who is a newspaper vendor supplying papers to around 1,000 homes in Sectors 2, 3, 4 of Vashi every dawn. Mahalakshmi wants to become an IAS officer one day, if her health condition allows her to study.