Showing posts with label Disability. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disability. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Quick Silver [249/365]

Source: London 2012 Paralympics
After 28 years, we finally got it, and in style.

24 year old Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda, won India's first and only medal at the special Olympics this year.
Suffering from a leg impediment, he got the silver by jumping over the 1.74 mt mark. His story is quite a remarkable one too. Son of a daily wage laborer, he took up the sport only towards the end of his school. With no formal training, he was mentored by a local sportsman until he started winning medals at national and international events.

This win is extra special coming from a nation that is no lover of the differently-abled. His journey to the Olympic silver is an inspiring story of how willpower can help overcome seemingly impossible hurdles.

Girish is no sympathy-monger either. Having excelled at sports alongside abled-bodied athletes at his home State, he moved to Bangalore to pursue a career and train. While our government splurged millions on able-bodied athletes in return for 6 medals, Girish had to quit his job to focus on training just six months before the event.

If Girish managed to better his personal record and get an Olympic silver with just six months of training, imagine how he would have done with a year. While our six Summer Olympic medalists are still giving their interviews and making speeches, there are scores of Girishs' who are struggling to breathe.

Let's hope this Silver medal will truly inspire a generation and help alleviate him and his family above poverty for ever. Let's pray that he does not fall victim to apathy and that the medal does not get sold for provisions.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

The lesser known Heroes [105/365]

source: Bangalore Mirror
While humanity will continue to debate if size does matter, I've always believed that disability doesn't matter.
I've been fortunate to interact and work with several people who were physically or mentally challenged. Besides the fact that we tend to forget how we take a lot of things for granted, physically challenged individuals are exceptionally abled.

They may not have the same faculties that we have, but they do have the same aspirations as we do. And most times, their challenges and the lessons that life in a cruel world has taught them, they are stronger willed than most able-bodied people I know. Perhaps we write them off too soon. Perhaps we kiddie spoon them too often.
While serving with NGOs like Freedom Foundation and Spastics Society, I've realized that we need to treat them with dignity and respect. They really don't need a freebie. They won't ask you for a concession or a quota.

When I see people with a disability begging on the streets and at traffic stops, it baffles me. I wonder why we allow them to live the easy life. With the kind of potential that a differently abled individual could bring to our world, I wonder why we would encourage any disabled individual to beg ever.

Case in point, 23 year old visually challenged student Poonam Vaidya. Reading her story in 'The Sunday Read' within The Bangalore Mirror gave me a tinkling feeling. I felt good reading it. (Read the inspiring story here)
One of the best lines, and one that I've always believed in, is when she says - '...A disability is only a disability if you think it disables you. A disability only prevents you from doing something in the way other people do it. It doesn't disable you, at least that's what I think.'
Living as a visually challenged person can be cruel in a world of colors. But Poonam set her goals, knew her limitations, explored her possibilities, stretched her abilities, and conquered her summit.
It is people like this that proves that there is hope in this world.

A big standing ovation to the lesser known heroes of this world: Bravo, Poonam!

Recommended Read:
Poonam's blog


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...