Conquering disability, 29-year-old Eric Paul has made it to the pages of the Limca Book of Records after driving from Leh to Kanyakumari in record time. Eric, who is paralyzed from the chest below, covered a total distance of 3,917 km in the record 159 hours and 59 minutes in a customized hatchback with hand controls. “It feels really good but I think I have just crossed a milestone and there is a long way to go,” said Eric, who has been confined to the wheelchair since February 2012 following a road accident.
“There were many challenges on my way like no toilets, restrooms, shelters or any public place which is wheelchair friendly. Neither people are aware of offering any help, instead, they look with pity, which makes a special person uncomfortable. “Other challenges were instant changing weather conditions, no mobile network, petrol pumps at long distances in hilly areas, poor condition of roads, landslides, language barrier while getting food and shelter was also a task,” he told PTI. However, he is happy to have overcome all the challenges in the journey, including the world’s highest motorable road passes in Leh.
Employed with the Taj group of hotels here, Eric said it was important to “believe in yourself and never give up,” if one was to take challenges head-on. A passionate driver, Eric had last winter completed the ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ road task of the Limca Books to set a record. He had driven 6,000 km — from Delhi to Mumbai and then Bengaluru, Chennai to Kolkata — in less than seven days to enter the Limca Book of Records. The Leh to Kanyakumari drive, published in the Limca Book of Records recently, is his second record feat. Also, a keen follower of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, Eric has campaigned for cleanliness during his two record expeditions across the country.
Now he is gearing up for another record-setting road expedition, while also working towards raising awareness about issues of disabled people. “I want to see a new India which is accessible for people like me or with any other disability. It is only possible when the whole society comes together and work in this area. I’ll try my best to contribute towards this,” he said.