I finally did it – I stopped reading the newspaper! Do I miss the news? Not at all, in fact I no longer dread mornings. Instead I feel free and have a couple of hours to spare. And guess what I found – better news. An online newspaper – The Better India – that makes it a point to focus only on positive news.
Reading it, one cannot help but be inspired and marvel at the resilience and capabilities of mere mortals. If only one has the will and determination – anything, and I do mean anything, is possible. Just a glimpse into the lives of three remarkable people has given new life to the adage – where there is a will there is a way.
Let’s talk about Sparsh Shah first who lives in the US. He suffers from a condition known as Osteogenesis imperfecta as a result of which he was born with 40 fractures, give or take a few. This incurable condition makes his bones very fragile – even a handshake can cause a fracture. In 12 years of his life, he has already suffered more than 125 fractures and has undergone multiple surgeries. One can only imagine the agony and pain that has been his constant companion right from birth.
But he has no time for pain – only for music. He has already raised half a million dollars for various charitable organizations through his singing talent and unbreakable indomitable spirit. His singing and joie de vivre is enough to give anybody the goosebumps – do listen to it and read more about him here.
When asked how he deals with the pain, he says: “There is not much you can do about pain…isn’t it? Crying is just a natural response to pain but you need to smile. This is what my Papa taught me since I was small. He said that I should tell my bones to smile whenever there is a fracture. If I don’t smile at them, they won’t respond to me with a smile. And so, whenever there is an x-ray after a fracture, I look at my bones and say – Smile please bones.”
Not just his bones, his smile tells us all to smile and just smile –where is the time or need for tears?
Moving back to India, let’s meet Amir Hussain from Kashmir, a diehard cricket fan, who lost both his arms in an accident when he was just 8 years old. His father had to sell off everything to pay for his treatment, which took almost 3 years. When he tried to join school, his teachers sent him back home, believing him to be a useless cripple. And today at 26 years of age, Amir Hussain is the captain of Jammu and Kashmir para-cricket team. He bowls with his foot and bats with his shoulder and chin and is completely self-reliant. Don’t believe me? See the video. All this didn’t happen overnight – 18 years of single-minded struggle amidst societal boos and jeers. But he made it happen through sheer grit and determination.
Last, but definitely not the least, is Mahananda Metri, a woman from Karnataka. She was sold off into the flesh trade at 13 years of age to repay her mother’s debt. “Bahut dukhta tha madam.. din me kam se kam 10-12 aadmi aate the. Par kya karti.. Maa bimar thi aur karza chukana tha (It used to hurt a lot, madam. About 10-12 men used to visit me daily. But what could I do? My mother was sick and I had to repay a debt).” She either bled continuously for months or was pregnant. She underwent two abortions, one at 14 and one at 16. Illiterate and too weak to work farms as a laborer there appeared to be no hope for her but the flesh trade even after the loan was repaid. But she didn’t give up her struggle. She broke free of the flesh trade and worked as a laborer in farms. She learned tailoring to supplement her income and pay for her daughters education. One is studying BAMS and the other is in class 10 while she takes tailoring classes. No one can tell by looking at the beautiful innocent shy smile on her face what unimaginable horrors she has undergone. Yet, gritty strength and steely determination is very much evident in her wiry frame.
What is it that gave these individuals the strength to defy fate? One can only conjecture and perhaps write reams. But I do believe it’s one crucial ingredient (or rather absence of it) – self-pity. They didn’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves. They just picked themselves up and did whatever had to be done to rise above the situation they found themselves in.
I can only salute their spirit and hope for a fraction of their courage, strength and determination.
My heartfelt thanks to the TBI team for bringing out these people and their stories from obscurity and giving them the platform and the recognition that they so richly deserve.
And also for bringing positivity back into our lives as well as reaffirming faith in our own selves – for that is the only thing we need to move ahead.
Thought for the day:
“We are going to fight. We are going to be hurt. And in the end, we will stand.”
― Stephen King, The Drawing of the Three
PS: Here’s the link to Chapter 40 and of course Calvin – risking life and limb to live it up.
4 thoughts on “Where there is a Will…”
Very inspiring life stories indeed!! Feel very nice to read such positivity. Yes, self-pity is such a negative feeling and one really need to shake it off vigorously as early as possible before it eats you up completely!! Thank you for sharing this piece!!
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Glad you liked it Svkuki – couldn’t help but share it! 🙂
Have bookmarked the page.
Sparsh’s singing is just Wow!…both the Hindustani and the rap…thanks a lot for this post.
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Yes Sparsh is amazing – all of them are and simply couldnt resist sharing. Glad you liked.