“We met during our FYJC and immediately became friends. We went through the highs and lows of college life, facing the real world, getting a job…all together. When I turned 26, I got engaged to the love of my life and we were all out celebrating at a club one night when it happened. I walked up the stairs from the basement to attend to a call, and on the staircase someone brushed passed me, I lost balance and fell. I remember trying to get up to get my phone and call my friends but I just couldn’t move…there was no sensation. Within minutes she found me and as she placed my head on her lap she realised that I was profusely bleeding. It took one hour for the ambulance to get to us…and even after I reached the hospital at around 4 in the morning there weren’t a lot of doctors. All through, I knew she as hospital phobic…she would get anxiety even at the mention of a doctor but here she was, yelling at people to hurry up, call the doctors and get things moving.
I went into surgery at 11 in the morning and thought that I would recover…it didn’t even occur to me that I may not have sensation because my spinal injury was so bad…on the 2nd day I just broke down and started crying. My fiancé flew down and we all thought that with physiotherapy I would get better…but it wouldn’t work. I refused to get on a wheelchair for the first few months so every day she would come home, try to make me feel better and put me before her on every occasion. When I finally knew that there was no solution after 2 years, I told my fiancé that I loved him too much and that he should move on…it was a difficult decision but I knew in my heart it was the right one and through that entire time, she was with me as strong as a rock.”
“When your best friend goes through something like this, your life changes completely as well. For months after, when the rest of our group was making plans I would first think of her — basic things like going out for coffee or going out to bar…how would she do it? It was like a part of me was immobile and I was ok with it as long as I could make her feel better. When she finally decided to get on a wheelchair, I said, enough is enough we have to change this mood — the two of us began to travel all over the world— in fact, she’s the one who even organised my bachelorette party for me! We were in Miami and we wore these goofy halloween costumes, we’ve partied nights together, bag packed across Europe and had the most bizarre adventures. While here in Bombay, the two of us started a salon together which is completely wheelchair friendly. We work together, we travel together and laugh way too much! She’s unbelievably strong…I remember when I was getting a divorce 4 years ago, she was at my doorstep everyday…she never let me slip and I remember thinking about how her problems were so much bigger than mine but she never stopped smiling. She’s courageous enough to share her story and we’re even starting motivational seminars together…she’s so determined that she still plays badminton and is hopeful of representing India at the Para Olympics!
We have so many memories together but my happiest one? When I met her on my first day at FYJC — a thin, scrawny girl riding into college on a huge bike and me thinking to myself ‘this girl is so weird and quirky — we’re definitely going to be friends.’”