My Story: "It Was In College I Experienced People Treating Me Differently For The First Time"
“When I was a kid there was a swelling on my back, they thought it might be cancer. The doctor suggested I get operated when I was just 25 days old. In the process of the operation, a nerve was accidentally cut and I was left differently abled.
But it became very normal for me, growing up. When people asked me how I managed with my crutches, I didn’t know how to respond– it was just ‘normal.’ I didn’t know otherwise. I wasn’t made to feel like anything less – my parents made sure I went to a school with non-disabled kids and that I was in an environment where I could be their equal.
I was never teased in school because I was in there from the very first grade. A lot of my friends supported me. They did little thing like making sure I’d be able to come for every event like Sports Days where they’d sit and wait with me.
The real challenge though, was when I went to college. My class was on the third floor and there was no elevator. I asked them to change it several times, but they refused to accommodate me. I still trudged through. I used my crutches and made the climb every day.
I was on my own for the first time, living in a hostel… I was nervous and excited because I had to manage everything on my own. But my parents kept motivating me. And just like the students there, independence too became normal for me.
Small things kept pushing at me. Like, I experienced people treating me differently for the first time. Once, we were making plans to go somewhere and they changed the place to suit my needs. But it showed on their faces that ‘we’re changing the place for you’… they eventually apologized for their behaviour, but I took it in my stride and moved on.
Eventually, I started looking for things I was more interested in, like creating and studied filmmaking. People said that I should choose another course because I couldn’t handle a camera, and had to plan a lot to travel. But I didn’t give it any thought. I just focused on doing my job and I did well! I did what I needed to to make sure that I was happy.
In fact, one of my friends showed my documentaries to others and they wanted to meet the filmmaker, they were surprised to learn that I was differently abled! I got invited to Spain to give a lecture! The whole experience was awesome. It was also my first trip outside India and that too – sponsored! it was my proudest moment. After this, I started working on spreading awareness of accessibility through my films. And now, I’m sure there are many more proud moments to come!
A lot of people think my story is about a struggle, but it’s not. It’s about simply being yourself — it’s about letting people know, that even a little bit of difference doesn’t mean that you’re less. It just means that you’re you, and not them.”
“When I was a kid there was a swelling on my back, they thought it might be cancer. The doctor suggested I get operated…
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