By Nishant Khade
It is not uncommon to see people quitting their passion or leaving their dreams unfulfilled because of the challenges in their path.
They do not realise that challenges make the journey of life even more interesting and by the end of it, you transform into a new person – with more grit and confidence. You will be surprised to see the transformation within you.
It changes your perspective towards your life.
If you think all these are empty words, then let me tell you, they are not.
And I am a living example of what I just said!
Circa 2001, I was a 23-year old happy-go-lucky man brimming with dreams and ideas; until I met with an unfortunate road accident. I suffered a c5 spinal injury during the rescue process, which made me a quadriplegic and left me wheelchair-bound for life.
For two years, hospitals became my second residence and I found something as simple as putting on a shirt difficult. However, that did not deter me from leading my life. With sheer grit and support from my loved ones, I learned to live with my shortcomings and embraced my disability as a part of my life. My ability to overcome challenges has helped me to lead an independent life and manage over 1,500 people at DAS offshore.
What’s more, it helped me to pursue my passion for travelling too.
I am an ardent traveller and I did not let my disability come in the way of my passion. My three wheelchair-bound friends and I travelled the length and breadth of India under Incredible India’s initiative called Beyond Barriers. We travelled 19,200 Kms to 28 states, and 44 cities, for over 84 days. Through this journey, we audited the accessibility at famous tourist spots, Universities, and government buildings and shared our observations with various stalwarts such as the royal family of Raipur and the governors of Assam, Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh, and Tripura.
After completing the trip successfully, I have been actively involved in helping governments to design a barrier-free infrastructure and transportation for the physically challenged people in the country.
My vision is to make India a barrier-free country and I strive to work towards this goal.
Don’t Delve Too Much On The Problems, Find A Solution To Solve It
When I became a quadriplegic, I knew I had to live with this condition for the rest of my life. However, that did not deter me from leading a fruitful life. With the help of my best friend and mentor, Arvind Prabhoo, I rebuilt my life. I believe there is no point mulling over the challenges. You must focus on finding ways to resolve it.
Find A Mentor Or Develop A Support System To Help You Wade Through Problems
I can’t imagine what would have happened without the support from Arvind Prabhoo, who is also wheelchair-bound. He helped me wade through the challenges and gave me a new lease of life. Arvind was also a part of the Beyond Barrier tour. An advice that I always give people is to find a mentor or take help of friends and family whom you can trust. Having someone besides you can be a significant boost to your spirits.
There Are Going To Be Shocks. Don’t Let Them Bog You Down
When I travelled on that fateful day, little did I know that a freak accident will change my life forever. I accepted the challenge of restricted movements and found new ways to lead a normal life. Life will throw new challenges at you every day. However, this is your time to make the opportunity of it, instead of avoiding it. As some wise person once said, when life throws lemons at you, make lemonade out of it.
Keep Your Passion Alive
I love to travel. When I became wheelchair-bound, my entire focus was channelized on rebuilding my life and to return to work. Amidst the rehabilitation process, there was one thing that I sorely missed. I missed the fun of travelling and exploring new places. A casual conversation with my friends led to the 84-days Beyond Barrier journey. The journey gave me an opportunity to interact with new people and visit new places. My passion for travelling and my dream to open a restaurant helps me stride through temporary problems. Passion for something will help you overcome challenges and be happy, irrespective of whatever happens in your life.
Finding Opportunities In Challenges Will Keep You Motivated
Every challenge presents an opportunity. The idea is to find the opportunity and make the most of it. I realised that India does not have a good infrastructure for people with disability. I found an opportunity to use my knowledge in construction and my observations on the challenges faced by physically challenged people to improve the accessibility in the country. I hope one day the disabled people will be able to move freely around the country just like the way other people do.
Challenges are inevitable. They will cause a roadblock every time you are close to achieving your goals.
However, as the line in the poem ‘Don’t Quit’ goes – Rest if you must, but don’t you quit. So, embrace the challenge and keep moving towards your goal.