Growing up with a hearing impairment and establishing myself as a prominent travel blogger wasn’t easy. This journey of mine has been worth every bit! I was born with a major hearing impairment in the left ear and a total hearing loss in the right ear. We didn’t realize this until the 3rd grade though I always felt silence surrounding me at all times. Due to this, I couldn’t communicate well and hence, I was denied admission in some of the good private schools in Chennai. Finally getting admitted into a government school, I began this arduous struggle of functioning with the hearing impairment.
Every single task was a challenge – conversing with friends, participating in discussions, trying to listen to the class sessions! It seemed like a cruel joke by life. It was frustrating to talk with people; I realized that one to one conversation although fulfilling, were limited. I was a silent student because conversations were really hard to keep up with. I struggled to listen, felt anxious to cross roads, avoided phone calls and avoided human contact at all costs. More than that, everything required additional focus and effort from my side.
It was probably this drive to prove to the world or to keep up with the crowd that I started to understand the meaning of hard work! Hard work became a habit and this alone helped me score the 2nd rank in the 12th board exams and a university rank in my engineering!
Life moved on, as it always does but my confidence wasn’t showing any improvement. I still wasn’t completely comfortable to reveal my issues to anyone. Amidst the mental chaos, I joined a corporate company, where again, I struggled to get involved with the team because of poor communication. It was during this time that, I developed a keen interest in photography. Because, as humans, we function with five key senses. So, when one of the senses is removed, the rest become more heightened!
I became a keen observer of the world around me. I started photographing with a point & shoot camera and this new hobby of mine provided a leeway into the other dimension!
Making an impulsive move to quit my job, I decided to pursue my skill full time. Unaware as to how to proceed, I started researching intensively and began exploring the various rural villages in India, including their lifestyles and their lesser-known festivals! The more I travelled, the more I felt liberated and let my photos do the talking for me!
I started participating in contests relentlessly and won many awards and cash prizes for my work. My first breakthrough came when my work got published in the National Geographic Traveller magazine despite getting rejected several times before!
Regaining my confidence, I became brave enough to speak up about my issues and I got confident and independent! Publishing my work online, I became a part of many online communities which helped me start a couple of start-ups, each one focused on achieving a specific goal. It also opened many avenues for me and my work came to be praised and applauded by people around the world. I have traveled to around 500 destinations in the last 6 years and my work has been featured in many exhibitions.
Looking back, I am grateful for everything life threw my way because they have brought me to such great heights I wouldn’t have otherwise imagined achieving! Challenges are essential to mold a character and a personality! My challenges are a part of me but I have found a means to work around it and make a mark in this big, beautiful world.
#Motivation #Challenges #Struggle #Inspire #Life #TravelBlogger #Journey #TravelDiaries #Blogging #NationalGeographic #NatgeoTravel #Success #PeopleofChennai #Madras #Blog #Travel #People #Support #HumansofMadras