Saturday, December 5, 2015

Saji Thomas: HRX Heroes with Hrithik Roshan (9th Episode)

Image Courtesy: Facebook Page of HRX Brannd

The last episode of HRX Heroes with Hrithik Roshan was another inspiring story which talked about the trials and tribulations of an ordinary person with extraordinary vision, determination, and talent. Saji Thomas was never ready to yield to his ‘not have (s)’ rather he stretched himself beyond to fulfill his dream. Every individual might have dreamt of flying atleast once, Saji also dreamt to fly, the difference is that he created his own aircraft. He never complained of what he did not have. His story lets us know that he is a possibilist, who made his impossible dream come true that of constructing his own aircraft.

Saji was born in June 1972. He could hear a little by birth, but he lost his hearing power completely after suffering from fever as a small child. Other children used to make fun of him, since he was unable to hear and speak. He did not have fiends to play with; often he used to wonder what to do in weekends.

At the age of 5 years, Saji used to make models of different vehicles viz. cars, buses, aeroplanes using cardboard. But he hardly got appreciation from anyone for his talent.  
His father, who was in military, took him once to Delhi, where he saw aircraft. He was amazed to see the aircraft. He got books from there which had details about aircrafts. 

Being a 7th class dropout, he did not know much English, but his brother helped him to learn English. He started reading those books. His dream of making planes got further strengthened. He grew up believing that one day, he would construct an aircraft. His family, friends and relatives chided him for possessing such weird and impossible dreams.
Hrithik adds beautifully here: “The only battle you have to win is against the voice that says – Give up!”. And Saji was not ready to give up. He helped himself, when nobody helped him.

He got married to Maria. He picked up TV mechanic / Photography jobs etc. to earn for survival. He used to travel to various parts of the country to gather various parts so as to construct the aircraft.

His first aircraft was spotted during an exhibition by Visveswarya Institute of Engineering and bought by them for 1.5 Lakhs. This gave confidence to Saji to make another aircraft which could fly.

Maria during the show admits that she used to get worried. People used to tell her that he was just wasting money for his crazy ideas. Maria used to get very upset. AT times, she also doubted his capabilities. He used to travel extensively to collect aircraft parts, and then due to lack of mobile phone, communication used to be nil. Maria and their son used to pray and wait for days for Saji’s safe return.

It took him more than 5 years to construct an aircraft which could fly. He had tough time garnering the funds. He considers Retired Wing Commander of Indian Air Force SKJ Nair, who has a flying club, as his mentor.  

Image Courtesy: Facebook Page of HRX Brand

Saji’s twin seater ultra-light aircraft – Saji X Air-S- is an epitome of persistence, passion, determination and achievement. A 7th standard dropout, deaf and dumb, his disabilities did not clip his wings or his flying dreams. Hrithik sums up the episode beautifully that – if you have passion, you don’t have to be superhero to fly. And that is Saji Thomas, HRX Hero. Watch the repeat telecast on 5th December, 2015 in Discovery Channel’s show “HRX Heros with Hrithik Roshan”.