“I was a happy child, but at the age of 9 I started getting severe headaches. My parents gave me painkillers–three or four a day. When I contracted illnesses, the doctor gave me steroid injections. Gradually, because of them, I lost my eyesight completely.
It was just assumed that I wouldn’t be able to go to school anymore, despite being a topper. So I stayed home and learnt household work. I’d sit in a corner and dream of being in class… my mom had given away my uniform and shoes, but I’d kept my badge. After 5 years we finally went to a blind girls’ school but it didn’t work out there. So we went back to my old school and spoke to the principal.
The first thing she asked was, ‘Where have you been all these years?’ She didn’t treat me with pity but placed a condition before me- I had to come first in class! I was shocked, how could I compete with normal kids? She didn’t budge. So I began going to school again. Once I was told to leave because I didn’t have a uniform. By then my dad was bedridden, no one was earning. I didn’t know where to get it from. So my principal spoke to the trustees and teachers, they all pitched in!
Soon, I got braille equipment–I learnt it in 3 days. My principal never let me feel like I was incapable. When I asked to skip the drawing exam she said I had to do it or she’d fail me! I did it, and I ended up getting an A+! I even represented my school in a speech competition and won gold– I gave my prize money to the school.
Thereafter I consistently came first. After 12th I was tempted to do a physiotherapy course. But I’d also received a scholarship of Rs. 20,000 which required me to go to college. Someone said ‘Everything is possible’ and that was all I needed; I decided to do both. I’d wake at 6, attend college till 9.30 and then go for my course all day!
I had several accidents while travelling. Once I fell off a train and hurt my chin badly. Before I got home, I removed the bandage so my mom wouldn’t stop me from going back! A lot of my peers also doubted me, saying I was too small and weak for this profession. These things would get me down but I had only one thought, ‘If I don’t do this then what will my future be?’ And I kept going! Dreaming of having my own clinic and practicing physiotherapy.
For 17 years I moved from place to place and finally I saved enough money to move here in 2012. I come here everyday since, working not only to make a living but to prove a point. No matter what you’re going through in life…know that there is light. I see it everyday and you should too.”