For those of us who complain that life has been hard on them and that nature has not blessed them sufficiently, the life of Shalini can be a scale for reality check.
Amid thousands of runners who hit Bengaluru roads for the TCS World 10K recently, the point of all eyes was a quadruple amputee, Shalini Saraswathi, and her indomitable fighting spirit. Due to a rare bacterial infection, Shalini, 37, lost her limbs and faced multiple organ failure, including a miscarriage. But nothing could break the spirit of this quadruple amputee. According to her, she “decided to participate in the event to inspire the differently abled to live in the present.” I believe the message is relevant for us all.
Shalini had a pretty good life — she had just returned from Cambodia after celebrating her fourth wedding anniversary, was pregnant and in line for a promotion. Then what began as a mild fever turned her life upside down. The Rickettsial bacterial infection eventually stole all her limbs – first both her hands and a few months later her legs.
Across the world we have noted names like Nick Vujicic, born in Australia with no arms and legs, but has been travelling the world, inspiring people to have a positive attitude to life. Why go far, in India itself we have inspiring personas like classical dancer Sudha Chandran, whose leg had to be amputated following an accident, but returned to the stage; Preethi Srinivasan who was the captain of the under-19 Tamil Nadu women’s cricket team and a champion in swimming, became paralyzed below the neck after an accident, now runs an NGO called Soulfree, where she imparts lessons of hope to those women who suffer from various kinds of physical disabilities… Look around and we can see so many such inspirational lives.
On the other hand, many of us are unable to bear with the smallest setbacks in life. To cite an example, this year alone there were a number of students who chose to end their life, because they either failed in the examination or didn’t get the expected result. The harsh fact of the matter is, while we feel nice and inspired to learn how Shalini and others coped with the immeasurable setbacks in their life, when it comes to facing such misfortunes oneself, it’s hard to pull it together to face life positively.
What’s the way out? Reality is hard. And there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that we have the power to overturn any situation. We all encounter difficulties. I firmly believe that facing reality, rather than succumbing to it, is our ticket to success. And here we have inspiring examples of persons who have done so!