Tinku (Sreekanth Naidu) – The Story of a Totally Disabled Person who eventually becomes a Journalist at NRI Samay
This is a story of Sreekanth Naidu (Tinku) who had nothing that many of us take for granted. He got up and moved forward every time life gave him severe beating. It is also a story of how a single grand mother who raised this totally disabled grown up man, a friend who became the shoulder when he needed the most, and a non-profit radio channel from across the oceans which gave him a new beginning.
Tinku was born in Paadithopu, Chittoor district, AP in 1986. He had a normal childhood like the rest of us until he was four years old. One day he fell sick with a viral fever. His parents took him to an RMP doctor, who was also his grand father. The doctor gave him a mix of medicines, which gave him bad reaction. Since then due to the reaction from medicine, his nervous system has been damaged.
Unfortunately his parents gave up on him and left him to the grand mother, Mangamma Naidu. She brought him up and sent him to school. They moved to Tirupati when Tinku was in 3rd class. Around the age of 16, he met with a road accident, which complicated his case even further. Since then his bones and muscles stopped growing. From neck below, he can barely move. He can’t even lift a glass of water by his own. Since then Mangamma had to do everything for him from feeding him to giving a bath. Now at the age of 26, as a grown man, he weighs an unimaginable weight of just about 25 kg.
Mangamma had been everything for Tinku. With her support, he completed his Degree, and studied Journalism from SV University in Tirupati. He also speaks 5 languages (Telugu, Hindi, Urdu Tamil and English).
In May 2012, the biggest tragedy struck Tinku. His grand mother, the only support he had passed away. With her demise Tinku had no place to live, no money for medical treatment and no one to look after him. At that time, Tinku’s old classmate from SVU, Sreekanth Bodavula came to the rescue. He helped with the cremation of the grand mother, and became the emotional and financial support that Tinku desperately needed. He also quickly reached to friends on the internet to seek more help.
In that process Sreekanth Bodavula contacted Srihari Atluri from NRI Samay, a Los Angeles based non-profit radio channel which focuses on positive stories on social and political issues in India. Srihari first felt deep empathy for Tinku, but quickly realized the potential in him. Not only offering donation to Tinku, NRI Samay employed him as their only paid volunteer. Now Tinku lives in a rental home, with a live-in male nurse, Mukunda, to look after him. Apart from Mukunda, Tinku’s best friends are Murugan and Ali, both auto-rickshaw drivers, who take him anywhere he needs to go.
Tinku currently works for NRI Samay as a journalist. His responsibility is to interview guests, and do ground level reporting. Despite so much tragedy in his life, Tinku greets everyone with an honest smile. He is a great inspiration for not only physically challenged people like him, but for all of us, who are handicapped in different ways. People who would like to support Tinku and other NRI Samay activities can visit www.youtube.com/nrisamay. You can also find Tinku’s interviews there.
NRI Samay runs completely on your donations. For us to continue to support Tinku and do more show on topics that are important to all of us, please donate here..