Jilumol Mariet Thomas was born without hands but that didn’t stop her being extra motivated to do all things in life. The 28-year-old who suffers from Thalidomide Syndrome turned her disability into her strength and became an inspiration to many.
Life was not that easy for Jilumol Mariet Thomas. Suffering from Thalidomide Syndrome and born without hands, daily chores appeared tough for her. Despite all this, Jilumol defied all the challenges as she is capable of managing things on her own. What really is interesting is the fact that they even learnt driving.
She drives her car with relative ease using just her legs. Driving a vehicle had been her dream since childhood. She dreamt of driving her own car through the streets of Karimanoor, her native village near Thodupuzha.
“One can either sit and wail about things one can’t do or overcome fear and emerge victorious. I chose the latter,” she added in a statement.
In 2014, Jilumol approached Thodupuzha Regional Transport Officer (RTO), requesting that she should be permitted to take the driving licence test.
Jilumol was asked to bring a copy of the license of a similar person who obtained a driving licence anywhere in India. Jilumol’s painstaking research in this regard provided results when she learnt that Vikram Agnihotri was the first person without hands to get a driving licence in India.
It was in 2018, Jilu bought her own car, which is a custom-built Maruti Celerio-Automatic.
“It was on the RTO’s guidance that I bought the car and made alterations,” she says.
It is also to be noted that no one in her family knows driving and Jilu learnt it herself within the compound walls of Ernakulam YWCA, where she lives. She is a specialist graphic designer at Viani Printings.
“It was through my own efforts that I bought a car. I had to do a lot of convincing before my parents — her father N V Thomas is a farmer and mother Annakutty Thomas a homemaker — agreed,” she says.
However, Jilumol is yet to get her vehicle registered and obtain a driving licence.
“I had moved the High Court in 2018, seeking permission for driving. The Centre has also given its nod to me. Now, the state government has to take the call. The officials were sceptical during the driving test. I have been refused a licence, but I will fight on and make my dream come true,” says Jilumol.