People often view disabilities as a barrier towards achieving their dreams. I was among them as well, who thought that I did not have much to bring to the table with the condition I am in. I have a rare neuromuscular disorder called Distal Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which deteriorates with time.
As I grew up, I decided that I would not let the disorder deteriorate my spirit, and began drawing inspiration from the many people and stories I came across. Years of learning, growing, and moving out of my comfort zone - today, I speak about my own story and hope to inspire many.
Seizing The Day
Due to my disability, I had to leave behind my education in the sixth standard as there weren't many institutions accessible for people like me. Moving around on my own was a challenge, and there weren't people who could take me around in the school as well. So dropping out was the only option ahead of me at the time. As much as the decision disheartened my parents, they chose not to give up hope. My mother encouraged me to read as many books and newspapers as possible and keep myself engaged.
Later on, I was fortunate to have found someone who could take me to school, and this way, I could complete my schooling and graduate from college. I then went on to become a banker at the State Bank of India, where I got to meet and interact with many people.
One of my strongest fortes is that I am a good listener and can connect easily with a lot of people. The lives and stories they brought to me inspired me beyond what I could put through words.
However, I always carried around a missing emotion within me, as I wanted to be able to bring something to the table. Some people were good at drawing, some were good at singing, and I believed for the longest time that I was not good at any of these. But as we all mature, we start to view things differently. I realised that there's a lot more capacity within me than I admit and that it deserved the limelight just like other talents.
During the pandemic, there were a whole lot of diverse trends and people seeking their passions while they were locked up in their homes. I, too, went on to find my passion and did a month's course on acting from a renowned academy. This experience had a significant impact on me, and opened up a whole new avenue that I had never even fathomed. Soon, I tried my hand at giving voiceovers to visuals, content creation and even went on to host a weekly show at Radio Udaan. Today, I introduce myself as a man who wears multiple hats - a banker by profession, dancer, motivational speaker, actor, and much more driven by passion.
As a child, I believed that many avenues in my life were closed for me, so whenever an opportunity came, I never missed it for the world and seized it with all I had. After my acting course, I received exposure to the field and was soon offered a role to act in an ad film. The minute I stepped into my first ever shooting set and was being groomed professionally - it is a memory I would cherish for the rest of my journey. I recollect being overwhelmed and ending up in tears after the shoot.
From there on, I haven't looked back and went on to participate in multiple shows such as India's Got Talent, Dance India Dance, and Roadies. Having a locomotor disability did not seem like that big of a concern anymore, and I made sure that I gave my best in everything I stepped into. If pursued with utmost sincerity, any art form can evolve one's creative acumen. It has helped me grow as a person and find my wings. Today, I hold the dream of taking my talents to the entertainment industry and hope to inspire more models with disabilities to join the bandwagon and bring in a much-needed representation.
I truly believe that if you think the doors are closed, then the doors are definitely closed. You need to carry a little faith in yourself and kick open the doors. Art does not differentiate between me and someone who does not have the limitations that I do. If you look closely, you will find at least one individual in every art space who has broken all sorts of barriers and made their name in the industry. The stage is the same for all, and with a bit of faith, everyone can find their own place.
If you, too, have an inspiring story to tell the world, send us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org