What better way to celebrate the new year than to be kind and compassionate to the needy and helping them by whatever means we can.
While most of us were busy partying and watching fireworks, Shekhar Naik, the former captain of the Indian national blind cricket team stepped out from the comfort of his home to distribute food and blankets to the homeless people sleeping by the roadside.
Under his captaincy, India has won T20 Blind Cricket World Cup in 2012 and Blind Cricket World Cup in 2014.
Partially visually impaired since birth, it was his mother who helped him gain his eyesight back in 1994.
At the age of 7, he met with an accident which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as doctors were able to restore 60% of his right eye vision. Life was not easy for him as he lost his father at a young age and he was then sent to a school in Shivamogga.
30-year-old Padma Shree Awardee, Shekhar Naik hails from Hulimavu in Bangalore. While the world was busy finding means to entertain themselves, Naik spent the night of December 31 and January 1 helping the poor in the Kalasipalya-KR Market and adjoining areas.
Every day, more than 100 of laborers sleep in the front of the shops or under the flyover in this area, which made Naik choose this area.
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In an interview with TOI, Naik said that sharing and caring is the best way to start a new year. “I just wanted to bring a smile to everyone’s face, especially the poor.”
On asking what prompted him to indulge in such noble deed, Naik said, he too was gifted a blanket, a pair of new clothes and toothbrush once a year by his hostel warden during his college days and that inspired him to do good with expectations.
Currently, he works as a gym instructor and earns Rs.20,000 per month. Naik says that the income is sufficient to support his family and that his best friend Sagar stands as a support system for him. “My best friend Sagar backs me in all my decisions and both of us save up for this day to help the needy,” he said.
Naik became part of the Karnataka blind cricket team in 2000. He was awarded the captaincy in 2010. “I want to open a sports academy and train those who are passionate about sports,” concluded Naik. Also, two visually impaired students trained by him have been chosen for Nagesh Trophy, a cricket tournament for the blind.
His determination to do good for the society is sure to inspire many for years to come.