“In 2010, after a wedding in Kolkata, I boarded a train back to Bombay, where I was studying architecture. I got in and quickly tucked myself into the upper berth and shut my eyes for a while. But I was jarred awake by a sudden derailment and fell down from the berth. Our bogie had gone completely off track!
I don’t remember much after that–I woke up in debris. My right hand was cut off in the accident. I was told it was caused by Naxals–another train had hit our bogie. All this had happened while I was unconscious. I couldn’t feel the pain….I was just numb. I couldn’t fathom what had happened….in a split second, my life changed.
My 15-year-old brother was running around for help. The locals weren’t helping us because of their own inhibitions against the Naxals. But soon, he found an army officer who knew basic medical procedures. After hours of lying under the debris and almost being declared dead, something brought me back. My mom went into shock when she saw me.
What followed was surgery after surgery, to help me heal. It took me a month to recover, after which I went back to college. But I was lost. What was an architect supposed to do without her hand? People told me to do something else. But this was my dream! I was brought back from this horrible accident for a reason, and now I had to give it my best.
I wasn’t going to give up. I started writing with my left hand and learned how to draw with my foot by myself – that’s how I did my final thesis as well. It was tough but it proved how much I wanted it. And everyone was so supportive. My friends even crowdfunded to help me buy a prosthetic arm. My life did a 180 degree – but I kept going!
The weirdest thing happened to me – there was a movie made about this, titled Jnaneswari Express in Marathi. I had no clue until I was directly invited to the premiere! Apparently, the plot was based on the media attention that I got. When I went for it, it was surreal to watch my story on a big screen. I have to admit a few scenes were so absurd, I laughed!
You know, I neither had control over the incidents on the day that changed everything for me, nor did I have a choice but to accept it at the time. But it was up to me to not let it define me. Today, I teach several budding architects. I travel for workshops and I do everything, people thought I couldn’t even dare to think of. I don’t see the limitation that others see in me. I’m enough, more than enough – and my fate will do just fine resting in my left hand.”
“In 2010, after a wedding in Kolkata, I boarded a train back to Bombay, where I was studying architecture. I got in and…
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