“When I was 7 months old, I suffered a polio attack. Except for my left hand, I was left completely paralyzed. I’ve learned to work my way around it and accept myself. I know I stick out, but this is me – this is all I’ve ever known.
But it’s my parents who’ve made me the person I am – they treated me like a princess. My father used to carry me from place to place, even when I was as old as 20. He once took me up a flight of stairs just so I could sit for an exam – I’ll never forget that. They’ve made me believe that I can do anything!
But my real struggle began when I decided to start working. Let’s state the obvious – who’s going to hire someone in a wheelchair? You won’t believe the loopholes employers attempt to play with! In fact, even when I did pass a round of interviews at a company, the medical examiner deemed me unfit. So I had an orthopedic doctor challenge the statement and soon after, I was employed….as deserved! I slowly rose up the ladder and became the Associate VP of a bank. I’d finally made it!
But life had other plans for me – not long after, I was told that I had only a year to live. One of my lungs was collapsing. For the first time in my life, I was desperate to survive – and why wouldn’t I be? I had so much to lose!
I tried everything – in the end I was directed to hydrotherapy which, surprise surprise, made everyone think I was crazy. How the hell was I going to handle being in water? Guess what though – not only did I ‘handle’ it, but it also saved my life.
I came to the realization that there are so many out there like me, who can do whatever they set their mind to – all they need is a word of encouragement. So I began creating awareness among the disabled about exercise and independence. I’ve had my hand in making Paralympic swimmers, changing government regulations, and developing the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India.
I’ve got to show so many people with missing parts that limbs are overrated, and we’ve actually been whole the entire time. I’m the happiest now – I’ve done everything I wanted to do and so much more. And you know the best part? I didn’t have to get up for it...not even once!”