“One day, I was standing in front of a mirror and playing, when I realised that my hands weren’t exactly symmetrical. That is when I realised why everyone thought I looked different.
I was born into an army family, the youngest of three daughters. I was born with a deformed left hand. No one at home every made me feel like I was any different, and I learnt to use my hand just like everyone else. But as I grew older, I realised the world outside my home was not always as encouraging. In school, I used to be a part of the group dance every year, but was never allowed to stand in the front because the teachers believed that normal kids were appealing. I didn’t know then that that was the first of many similar battles I would have to fight. Kids used to imitate me by putting their hands under the sleeves, distant relatives looked at me with pity. In college, I wanted to be in the fashion show but never participated, as I got conscious.
My father made sure I was independent. I got a degree in engineering and then did an MTech, and today I work in Bangalore. Later, in the lead-up to my wedding, people started talking of how my family must have paid the boy a huge dowry to marry a “girl like me.” Somehow, everyone conveniently forgot my education and career! But that’s India, its difficult to find the right guy for a girl with disability. I have known my husband for 8 years before we decided to tie the knot, He is a left leg amputee. Contrary to the popular notion, Disability did not bind us, its our individuality!
I used to be a shy, introverted person. All the staring made me uncomfortable so I used to hide my hand in clothes and be as inconspicuous as possible. Today I am more confident and there isn’t a thing I cannot do myself – I braid my hair, make round chapattis,draw, paint, swim, and have a successful career and a loving husband.
What more could I ask for?”
– Prerna Nautiyal
Story By – BeingYou | Image Credit: Vishwanath Velu
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