“I was affected with polio as a 6 month baby when we were given the vaccine. It caused a huge ruckus in my body that it affected my brain and I fell sick with a severe condition. This eventually caused a ripple effect in my body and as the years moved forward, I could sense a lot of trouble with walking.
However, my mum, dad, a brother and a sister always made sure that I was taken care of well so I would go to school braving all odds. But life had different plans for me apparently! I was in my 10th grade when my dad passed away out of the blue. It was a huge blow on us and one we were quite unprepared for! It sent me down a spiral and I decided to discontinue my education as there were other pressing issues in the family that had to be attended to.
It would take me 9 years to enter in the education sector again but I am proud to state that I’m the first person to pass SSLC and higher secondary through saksharatha mission. In my 24th year, I was informed about a three month workshop which was mainly aimed at disabled folks so I decided to give it a try. Through these months, we were taught all about computer programming and life skills and I found my lost confidence making its way back to me. But the main thing was meeting other folks with a similar condition; just knowing that there were so many people just like me was comforting enough and hearing their stories about having it worse pushed me to focus on enabling more opportunities for our community.
This program also brought me to my mentor who has since then played a pivotal role in my life. There are two incidents that are worthy of a mention here – one is my first dance performance in a wheelchair and the second one was organising an art exhibition for people of disability. All my life, my dream was to dance but with my condition, I couldn’t explore the option much but the universe made it possible when I met a team where I was coached on giving a performance with my wheelchair. And also, as part of an art collective, I was given the opportunity to organise and manage an art exhibition of five days. It was one of the most memorable events till date.
I am known as a wheel chair model in Kerala but I would like the world to know that there are so many of us multi talented folks; confining some of our abilities has only led us to explore our limits in other areas.
Throughout everything, I must admit that never once have my mom or my brother made me feel like a lesser mortal; never once showered any sympathy! I was always cared for but they were extra careful to make sure that I never felt left out. My honest wish is that each and every person in this world disabled or otherwise, get their fair share of education. Education alone will uplift and bring us out of our limited possibilities. The world is huge and there is space for all of us to flourish.”
#Polio #life #positivity #hardships #family #art #modelling #dance #empowered #madras #humansofmadras