At 24 he became handicapped; a govt. hospital handed him a certificate; “70% disabled” it said on the front page, “likely progressive” on the next. He had dreamt of playing football one day, but was now a person with locomotor disability, dependent on a stick. A futile existence he believed. Anyhow he passed his UG, and got admitted in a very prestigious university in the country. He stood first in the entrance test, in the PWD category of course.
His first day in the University; a new beginning. Owing to ill health he had all but enjoyed his time in college, had had only a handful “friends”.
He hopes for a fresh start.
He enters the class on his first day of MA. People look at him; look as if he were an alien; sporting cervical, lumbar supports and a walking stick, unable to stand straight.
“so this is the one who got in through pwd category, must have been easy; lucky ..”
New beginning eh?
He battles through till lunch break; he could feel eyes on him all the time; some pitying, some mocking.
Lunch break -he leaves his departmental building feeling frustrated; having had 7 surgeries, battling multiple illness; he feels defeated, heartbroken because someone left him as “you’re sick, I can’t be with you.”
Thankfully the University offers toto services to, the “differently abled”. He avails one; opposite to him sits a young lad probably in his UG, and blind. The lad senses Mimo get on the auto. “hi, I am in UG1, today we are holding a meeting for students like us would you like to come?”. Mimo is a bit taken aback, but just to get his mind of all mundane thoughts he agrees.
They enter a mini auditorium. A speech is going on, they sit.
Mimo glances around; 90% of them are visually challenged; one has cerebral palsy, some deaf and dumb. Kids who haven’t seen their own mother’s face nor spring in its glory, how beautiful a person can seem when you love them, how beautiful is an innocent puppy; some have never heard their own voice, ; how heavenly is the cackling laughter of a child or the cooing of a baby; never seen a single colour; haven’t walked a single step; but Mimo has experienced every single of those till a certain age, and yet he sits there morose, despondent and these younger ones are filled with more life than Earth herself.
Teens, who in the prime of their life, inspite of having obstacles far greater, are far happier, filled with contagious energy with which even Mimo is infected. He feels lucky,blessed and grateful. No matter how difficult a situation, no matter how hopeless, there are many who have been in worse and yet emerged victorious; those who are still waging wars we know nothing off and yet have the tenacity and goodwill of inspiring us, the mentality to pull out others from their darkest days and guide them to their brightest future, filled with ethereal light.
Life doesn’t seem so bad anymore; he is lucky to have felt the grass underneath his feet, to have heard KK sing, to have seen ‘Starry Night’, to see Sachin lift the cup; to have seen and caressed his once lover’s face.
He sniffles, he is much more blessed than anyone in the room.
He now understands the Bollywood concept of “hero”; he is surrounded by them.
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”—Christopher Reeve.
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