One of my friends is a painter, her art works are exhibited in many exhibitions in abroad too. Since she posts all her art work on facebook, I used to browse through the pictures when she used to inform me. Twice it so happened that I wanted to add a comment to a couple of pictures and I could see that another person has already commented on the same, exactly what was on my mind. It may just be a coincidence, but since the ideology is the same, I opened up his facebook page to have a look at his picture. From the moment I saw his face, I had a strong feeling that I had seen him earlier, but couldn’t recollect exactly where …
A few days later, in our volunteer group, it was announced that volunteers are required to fill in applications for students on merit basis to various NGO’s that can fund for their education. I opted in, and all the volunteers gathered in a room. There were pamphlets of various NGO’s to go through. While I was browsing through some of the brochures, there he was on one of the pamphlets. I would have seen that earlier too. Good Lord, he owns an NGO ? That’s not it, he sponsored few thousands of students already. After knowing so much, one would want to know more… It is so awesome and inspiring, a single person sponsoring thousands of students, how is he doing it ? I called up my friend to ask her about him, she was junior to him at ISB ( I found out through FB 🙂 ).
He is from a lower middle class family, his father is a railway employee and mother is a house wife. He rejected his seat in an IIT because he got the seat due to reservation. After his graduation, joined one of the IT firms. After working for a few months, he gave GRE and secured a seat in 6 universities in the U.S (all the universities he applied to), but couldn’t afford the fee. He applied for a scholarship but completely cannot rely on it, so he approached his college management, requesting him to let him take classes for recruitment drives. He charged a nominal fee, but since the sessions were so good, he did end up with money which along with scholarship suffices for the two year fee. Then a job in the US for few years, returned back to India, did his MBA at ISB, post which he worked with Aamir Khan Productions and now holds a strategic leadership role in one of the renowned IT firms. That’s his job and education. Life is not only about education and job. So..
He skydived from 14000 feet, went for scuba diving, then the most interesting of all, an expedition to Antarctica. He owns an NGO that paid higher education fee for 20,000 students till date, along with a few friends of his, he conducts seminars and uses the funds this way. I am not talking about a 50 year old man, he is in his 30’s. He wants to adopt a girl child 🙂
Well, If I have wanted to do all these myself, I am not sure if I can accomplish by that age. But, he did. The only difference between me and him is that, his lower body is completely paralysed and he is bound to wheel chair. Imagine, who would dream of travelling to antarctica with such disability ? He has fearless hope that let’s him not to see any boundaries.
All through his life there were many who insulted him in many ways, and warned his parents to be wasting their money. No one believed in him or his ability, but nothing could stop him, could disturb his dedication or altered his will.
When I think of people who are differently abled and succeeded in overcoming the missing abilities these two stand out very much for me. One is Stephen Hawking, one of my favorite physicists and second Beethoven. Both of them were normal when they were born but ended up loosing their abilities. It awes me to even think that Beethoven created Moonlight Sonata when he was completely deaf. Improvisations were his liking, but without hearing he created marvelous tunes and could play them.
As we think, disabled people don’t need our sympathy, they require support, they need to be empowered. We need to create infrastructure and opportunities for them so that they can independently live their life with ease. Many people with disabilities have contributed to the society. There are millions of people who are disabled but not deemed as “famous” in the society, but still continue to live with the disability and fight every single day of their lives. Limits and barriers are created by us, which don’t seem to exist for these people. Let’s interact with them normally, love them equally, treat them with respect, they deserve it.
“I’m officially disabled, but I’m truly enabled because of my lack of limbs. My unique challenges have opened up unique opportunities to reach so many in need.” –Nick Vujicic