By Alva Solomon
He says he can play a game of cricket, volleyball, shoot pools, operate an outboard engine on a boat, and drive and catch with his cast net. In fact, although Lakesh Mathura is differently-abled, he says his life is as normal as any other person’s.
Mathura, aged 28, is a father of one. He works at the Mahaicony Hospital as a Pharmacy Assistant. There, his job includes a list of duties, and these include writing the prescriptions of persons seeking the services of the pharmacy at the hospital.
He said persons would quite often stare at him, given that he does not have a palm on either hand. Mathura said he was born without hands; he was born with a condition called congenital amputation, in which a person is born without a limb, or part of a limb/limbs.
Despite being differently-abled, Mathura says, he is always upbeat about life, and he has managed to overcome several challenges while growing up.
Relocation to Mahaicony coast
He was born and raised at a village called Bara Bara, which is located along the bank of the Mahaicony Creek. Mathura has said that, while growing up, he was always the centre of attention, not only for his physical appearance but because he always beats the odds.
“I use to go to primary school while in Mahaicony Creek, and people in the community always rally behind me because I can do anything,” he said.
He explained that by “anything,” he meant fishing, swimming, playing cricket with his siblings and friends, and even paddling along the sides of the creek, and swimming.
According to Mathura, he encountered challenges when he moved to the coastal areas of Mahaicony to attend secondary school. Mathura attended the Bush Lot Secondary before settling at the Mahaicony Secondary School.
He said that, as he mixed with people, he would grab their attention. “People used to look and ask me questions, but I would say I can do anything just like any other person,” he explained.
Mathura enrolled in a Pharmacy Assistant health care programme offered by the Ministry of Health several years ago, and after successfully completing the training in Georgetown, he was placed at the Mahaicony Hospital.
He said he is now in his seventh year on the job at the hospital; but while he works in the pharmacy during the day, he has decided to pursue a side job as a barber. He said he opened his barber shop after realising that he has talent in that field, which many are still amazed to see.
“Some people come in the barber shop and watch me couple times. Then they would come back for me to cut their hair, because they still didn’t believe I can cut their hair,” he said laughingly.
He said he has been a barber since he was 14 years old, and these days he is in demand, as he would receive calls from his usual customers on when they should visit his barber shop for him to cut their hair.
“When a fresh person come, they would watch on, because they don’t believe it,” he added.
Mathura said he opens his barber shop on weekends and in the afternoons after he completes his duties at work for the day.
Hoping for driver’s licence
Mathura has said he can also drive, and he noted that on one occasion he visited a Police Station to purchase the learner driver’s package, but he was not successful in his quest. He explained that the officer questioned whether he has a customised vehicle, to which he answered in the negative since, according to the young man, he can drive “as a normal person.”
Mathura said that after discussing the issue, the officer explained that he cannot be issued with a driver’s licence package. The young man said he is still hopeful that one day he would be able to obtain his driver’s licence.
These days, he said, he is working hard to expand his business and institute self-enhancement plans. He said, too, that his wife is expecting soon, and this, he noted, would further warm his heart, even as he continues to live “a normal life, like anyone else.”