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Inspiring: Irwin Menezes defeats polio to live his dream
By Melissa Nazareth

February 18, 2014

Heroes are not always those who change the lives of those around them. Sometimes true heroes are those who muster the courage to turn their own world around. I met up with Irwin Peter Menezes on my trip to Mangalore, last month and his story is one that vows to inspire millions.

Irwin was very young when he was diagnosed with polio. The sickness left him crippled below his waist in a way that he never walked again; but this didn’t discourage him to live a life that most of us only dream of living.

“I’ve been driving a rickshaw for five years now,” says Irwin. “I always wanted to drive a rickshaw and so I’m glad I achieved my dream.” The charming young rickshaw man helps people commute in and around Moodbidri, Birav, Taccode and other adjoining areas. So what is the best part about his job? “I love meeting new people and making new friends.”

I ask Irwin what a typical day in his life is like. “My day starts at 5.30 in the morning,” he says. A cup of tea and his morning prayers see him through the day up until noon time when he meets his friends for lunch. “I don’t drive my rickshaw all day. It depends on how many rental calls I get. You could say I get around 3 to 4 customers when business is peak.” Once Irwin is home, it’s family time! “I love playing with my nephew,” he says with a smile. “Ghara matarin, burgin and pete zaijett, na zalyaar zainaa (Elders, kids and pets are what make a house, a home).”

If you thought driving a rickshaw is Irwin’s only achievement, hold that thought! Irwin took an open-school, Grade 10 examination which he passed and is also computer literate. In addition he is a self taught carpenter (see the image of the easy-chair crafted by Irwin). “I used to observe and work with the carpenters who came to our home,” he says. Irwin has even learned tailoring and straw-designing. Any other hobbies that you have? “I love singing; I sing at church and am part of the choir.”

Irwin draws his strength from God. He believes that God provides and will help. “We must face our life like it is and not give our challenges too much importance; just behave normal.” He attributes his success to his trust in the Almighty and hard work. “Listen to your elders’ advice and take help from your friends,” he adds.

Optimism and enthusiasm personified, Irwin Peter Menezes is one man you definitely want to meet. So the next time you’re in Mangalore and need a ride, you know whom to call!


Melissa Nazareth Archives:



Comments on this article
Lenita Nazareth, Moodbidri/DubaiThursday, February 20, 2014
Love u mama... Great work mel :)
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prema sequeira, Jeppu/dombivliThursday, February 20, 2014
It is a great courage. Best of luck
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Vanessa, MoodbidriWednesday, February 19, 2014
The True Hero!!!......Love U Maam :)

P.S. Love sitting on that easy-chair :P
Comment on this message     

Percy Saldanha & Family, Bendur,Amboli, MumbaiWednesday, February 19, 2014
God bless you.Best of luck
Comment on this message     

Evelyn Gomes, Gantalkatte/dombivliWednesday, February 19, 2014
Thank You Melissa in a special way for the lovely article on my brother's life. I am proud of my brother. He has done lot more in life than a normal person has done.
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Joseph and leena rodrigues, parankada house/birav/mumbaiWednesday, February 19, 2014
Wishing you all the success and good luck.
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George Menezes, Gantalkatte/ BahrainTuesday, February 18, 2014
You are a real star and keep shining all the best God Bless.
Comment on this message     

William, BantwalTuesday, February 18, 2014
Good article on Irwin. Really it is hard work and dedication. God bless his efforts. I believe, soon he will walk on his own. Let's all say, one hail mary daily for all our needy brothers and sisters.
Comment on this message     

ivan dsouza Dubai, GantalkatteTuesday, February 18, 2014
Proud of you Babu..real hero of gantalkatte.God bless you and best of luck.
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Philip Aranha, moodbidriTuesday, February 18, 2014
I know Irwin(babu)since my childhood. He is a great hero. he never show his weakness. wish him all the success. May god bless him always to achieve many goals.
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Anita Pinto, Gantalkatte / Doha Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Babu you are the inspiration to many people .God bless you .
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Vincent Rodrigues, Katapadi/BangaloreTuesday, February 18, 2014
Irwin Menezes is a great man of commitment,vision and adventure.With all his major physical deformity he is bend on to live the life as per his dream.Wish him all the best in his endeavour and best of luck too.Thanq.
Comment on this message     

Joe Gonsalves, MangaloreTuesday, February 18, 2014
This is indeed a thought provoking and inspiring story of Irwin. I join several others in saying kudos to him.

We must learn from Irwin. Despite a serious set back Irwin has fought and won life's battle.

I wish I could meet Irwin some time somewhere.

Good luck and a BIG GOD BLESS YOU Irwin. You are a ROLE MODEL TO MANY.

Joe Gonsalves
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EVANS ALEX, FALNIR MANGALORETuesday, February 18, 2014
gods favourite are the weak.once we put out selves in gods hand he gets great things done from the weak and humble.it is human nature to value the worh of a person by his srength, capabilites and qualifications.but god helps those who help them selves.grat irvin,congratulations,and all the best.
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jerald moras, siddakatte mangaloreTuesday, February 18, 2014
your the strength of those people suffring from polio good job ervi GOD bless you .....
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nishel, MangaloreTuesday, February 18, 2014
Hats off dear friend. Your inspiration to all lazy fellows and those with pessimistic thoughts.
Your willpower is appreciated. Grow and reach the heights of success. Best wishes and prayers.
Comment on this message     

Sky, KatipallaTuesday, February 18, 2014
Proud of you Bro.
Hope you get more success in your life.
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Praveen Aranha, gantalkatteTuesday, February 18, 2014
God bless you Irwin and good luck
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ASHLEY DSILVA, KUWAITTuesday, February 18, 2014
Pure Inspiration!!!

Irwin has struck the right chord on 2 very key aspects
1. Self realization and managing yourself within those limitations
2. Value of family and bonding -not pillars and concrete rather by lives..
God bless you always.
I really wish many of us had half the courage and willpower to go ahead in our lives the way you are doing it with so much joy.
Comment on this message     

JOHNSON FERAR, FERAR/ISRAELTuesday, February 18, 2014
Hats of you Babu(irwin)my god bless you.you are a real hero..and thank you for Melissa Nazareth as a lovely article
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Sunil, Tuesday, February 18, 2014
God Bless Melissia for writing this Article and Irwin for keeping his never ending trust in the Almighty
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Rakesh Dsouza, Mangalore, DubaiTuesday, February 18, 2014
This is a great man. I saw him since many years. hats of to you Irwin.
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S.M. Nawaz Kukkikatte , Udupi / DubaiTuesday, February 18, 2014

Great Dear,
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Jossey Saldanha, MapusaTuesday, February 18, 2014
In India most people with polio beg on the streets and make more money than normal people.
Hats off to you IRWIN...
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Roshan Braganza, MumbaiTuesday, February 18, 2014
It's rare to see 'FOREST GUMP' phenomenon in real life , but Irwin is one of them. Words are easy to write , but when disaster strikes in life , we often render clueless , confused and agonized. The Irwin example can draw lots of inspiration i must salute him for his zeal and attitude. Earning his livelihood not depending on others is highly respected in society.
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God bless you.Best of luck
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Amin Bhoja, Patte / RiyadhTuesday, February 18, 2014
A challenge in life the destiny and it's livings.May 'GOD' bless him always.
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HENRY MISQUITH, BahrainTuesday, February 18, 2014
Marvelous Irwin, thrilled to hear this story. Guys time for us to give a standing ovation to this achiever. Keep the spirit growing....the best is yet to come.
Good luck.
Comment on this message     

Alexander Prashanth Menezes, Karkala/DubaiTuesday, February 18, 2014
Melissa, Lovely Article for those people who do not wish to see the light in their life. One must learn how to be happy through Erwin's life. The positivity that he envelopes in his life, is simply Great. I admire this gentleman for his self made attitude and for realizing his dream through hard work.
Comment on this message     

ASHOK PINTO, MOODBIDRI/NEW YORKTuesday, February 18, 2014
Proud of you Babu..!
Comment on this message     

Anand, karkalaTuesday, February 18, 2014

Melissa, good article and it would have been a great help to commuters if you could have provided the number to call.
Wishing Irwin a great life ahead.
Comment on this message     

Deepak, PaladkaTuesday, February 18, 2014
A real hero who is inspiring many to not lose hope at any situation. May god bless Irwin.
Comment on this message     

JerryMoras.com, Calgary, CanadaTuesday, February 18, 2014
Congrats Irwin. Positive attitude is the key.
Comment on this message     

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