To live a life without disabilities is a blessing and not every human is blessed.
There are few human who refuses to lose in the race called life even if they are disabled and can do wonders in life. Here is a story of a man who was lost eyesight at the age of 19 have achieved in life which most of us can only think of achieving.
He had done several adventurous sports and not only did them but also organise them for other blind people as well. The games include Scuba diving, Paragliding and more, Cycling at 18380 feet as well.
When the doctor told me I was going to lose my eyesight because of glaucoma, I was in complete denial. But by the time I turned 19, I went completely blind – I was forced to come to terms with it. It was made worse by people telling me about all the things I couldn’t do anymore.
I realized that I was the only blind person I knew. I was sure there were many others, but why hadn’t I met anybody in class, during sports, or at parties? I got my answer when I was told that the only career options now had were to make cane furniture or become a telephone operator.
The world forced us into a box by only allowing us to mingle with those of ‘our kind’. We even had careers already chosen for us. I believed that we were capable of so much more. I wanted to check off all the things I ever wanted to do – not because of my disability, but in spite of it.
When nobody agreed to teach me computers, I taught myself and in just a year I started working as an IT consultant. After 6 years, I decided to go back to college to study psychology. It was hard, I had to work longer hours but I knew I was working towards something bigger. I became the first blind student to graduate in Psychology from the University of Pune. Soon, I started my own company with my sister.
As a child, I participated in adventure sports – I still dreamed of climbing mountains and flying in the air. So I decided to learn how to paraglide. It took me 7 years to find a trainer. When I finally flew, I felt invincible. I was India’s first visually impaired solo paraglider! And the congratulatory messages from all over the world only motivated me more.
I realized that the only reason I was getting so much attention was because I was an exception. I didn’t want that, I wanted this to become a norm. So, in 2004 I started a foundation called ‘Adventures Beyond Barriers’. I wanted a platform where people, with or without disability, could bond over their common love for adventure.
On my first expedition, I took 130 blind and 50 sighted people on a trek to Tikona fort. In the last 4 years, we’ve done marathons, treks to the Everest Base Camp, trained amputees, paraplegics and quadriplegics in scuba diving and gone tandem cycling 550 kms from Manali to Khardung La.
I’m still the resident guinea pig, and no activity is conducted without me trying it out first. I love the life I’m living. Being blind is just something that happened to me, it doesn’t define who I am.”