Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
Dev Mishra of Bihar’s Begusarai district’s Dhakjari village is a contestant in India’s Got Talent, a popular Indian reality show. His extraordinary moonwalk impressed the judges the very first day of the audition. His moonwalk was not the kind people see every day. He moonwalked with his hands.
Dev was born to Vandana Devi and Raj Kumar Mishra and was the youngest of three siblings. He led a normal life, until a fateful day that turned it upside down.
Dev’s remarkable story is not only moving but one that gives us strength and a strong desire to believe in ourselves.
When Dev was just 6-months-old, his father passed away after being ill for a long time. A landless labourer and a domestic help, his mother worked day and night to run the family. All her money had been spent on his father’s treatment.
“When I was around 10, I tried hard to help my mother, but I was too young. I remember how painful it was for her, but she never complained. She worked harder than I have ever seen anyone work, and made sure none of her children slept without food in their stomach. However, I had to drop out of school to take up odd jobs,” Dev said in a conversation with The Logical Indian.
With its fair share of ups and downs, life went on for Dev. But little did he know that a day would change his life forever.
22-year-old Dev, who worked as a welder, was travelling to Hyderabad on June 1, 2015, to work for a contractor there. It was a day like any other, and he was preparing to board the train from Barauni station.
“I was waiting for the train and the crowd, as usual, was pushing each other to board it. Before I knew, I was pushed by the crowd behind me and had fallen onto the railway tracks. The train was so close that I did not get time to get myself together,” he said.
The train ran over his legs, slicing them from his thighs. He screamed in pain and begged people to help him, but nobody came forward. Before he could decide what to do, a second train ran over his legs.
“For three hours, I sat there and begged people to help me. The excruciating pain went on becoming worse, but not a single person came forward to help me. It was as if they were scared to touch me. I saw people taking pictures of me. I have never felt so helpless in my life,” he said.
A friend of his happened to be at the same station, and when he saw Dev’s condition, he went numb. Six hours after his accident, with the help of his friend, Dev finally reached the hospital.
He stayed in the hospital for over a month with his mother doing her best to provide money for his treatment. The doctors said he would not survive, but he miraculously did.
“My mother took care of me after I returned home. She lever left my side,” he said.
Being already broken inside, what Dev longed for the most during those days was his family’s love.
“I looked up to my older brother the most. Whatever money I would earned, I would come back home and hand it over to him. I trusted him and loved him more than my life. But life has taught me that when you become useless, anyone can leave you,” he said.
During the hardest time of Dev’s life, when he needed his brother the most, his brother told him something that killed him more than his physical pain did.
“My brother, who had got married before my accident, told me that I would never be able to do anything in my life. Whether I am dead or alive, I would have to be dependent on him, he told me. Not wanting to take any trouble, he left me and my family. What broke me down more was not the fact that he had left me, but that he had left our mother alone, who had done everything she could to feed us and raise us,” he said.
But nothing could make Dev lose his belief in himself. He decided to do something out of his life.
Dev travelled to Jaipur as someone had told him that he might get good treatment there. Every doctor he consulted told him that he would not be able to get prosthetic legs because his limbs were too short for the procedure to be carried out.
From Jaipur railway station, he whimsically boarded a train to Mumbai. In the city of dreams, he lived on his arms on footpaths and ate leftovers. He asked anyone he came across for work, but they refused. Nobody thought someone like him could do anything.
Someone on streets once asked him where he wished to go. “I want to stand up for myself, but I cannot see what is waiting for me,” he said.
“My biggest dream was to meet Salman Khan. Not because I am a fan, but because I had heard a lot about him helping children and the needy, and I thought he might help me find some work. I waited outside his house for a month, in scorching heat and in the rains, but never saw him. Everybody around his place saw me. His security kept telling me he was not there,” he said.
Next, he kept moving around Jackie Shroff and Tiger Shroff’s place, and to his delight, Jackie Shroff met him, gave him some food and 5,000 rupees.
“He told me he would look for some work for me. I was touched,” he said.
He waited outside the homes of other celebrities in the hope of some help, including Akshay Kumar, but got none.
“There were so many people to ask me what had happened, but nobody to help,” he said.
What changed his life yet again, but this time for the better, was his meeting with jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali.
“Whatever I have become after the misfortune, it is because of Farah Ma’am. When I told her my story, she got in touch with some people and got me a tricycle. She gave me 10,000 rupees for my expenses, found accommodation for me, and has taken care of me ever since. She is like an angel in my life,” he said.
Not stopping there, Farah spent lakhs to finally get Dev prosthetic legs.
To make the most of the opportunity, Dev began to work out to build his upper body, since almost all of his body weight resided in his hands. On Carter Road, he would practice callisthenics.
During one of these practice sessions, 10 months back, dance instructor Vishal Paswan spotted him.
“Vishal Sir began training me to dance, but never took any money from me. He motivated me, inspired me and made me believe that I am capable of doing something for myself,” said Dev.
Dev performed at various stage shows, and finally decided to audition for India’s Got Talent. He impressed the judges with his dance and his now preparing for the second round of audition. He is also going to appear for his class 12 exam next February.
“I live where Farah Ma’am got me accommodation. Keeping a part of what I earn for myself, I send the rest back to my mother. After I was seen on India’s Got Talent, the brother who had left us called me to send me his wishes. I have asked him never to call me back again.” he said.
When asked if he still wanted to go and meet Salman Khan, he said, “I won’t go to him again. He will come to me now and hear my story. I have reached where I wanted to. But I still wish to do a lot more in life”
The Logical Indian salutes Dev Mishra for his determination, hard work and positive attitude.
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