One afternoon, I was travelling by a local train from Churchgate to Andheri, seated near the window. The train had stopped at Bombay Central station. I saw a blind man, maybe in his early 20’s, running down the stairs from the foot overbridge towards the train I was seated in. The train started when he was a few steps away from the platform. In the same situation, most persons, including I, would have fretted and fumed, maybe cursed. This guy just started grinning wistfully! This incident occurred over 20 years back, but it has remained etched in my memory.
Some years later, I met a person who is a source of inspiration to all who know him. A few years after he joined a large company as a GET (Graduate Engineer Trainee), he lost vision in both eyes. After discussions with his employers, he decided that his best option would be to start a factory supplying parts to his employers. It was not easy, but he succeeded with full support from his family, ex-employers, bankers and all business associates. He had bought equipment from the company I worked with. When I first met him, he had been running his business for about 7 years. He and I interacted quite a bit, both personally and telephonically over the next 9 years. In those 9 years, he never ever complained or spoke bitterly about his blindness. In fact, he was always quick to see the funny side of any situation and laughed much more than most ‘normal’ people. More importantly, he never asked for any special treatment on account of his blindness.
There are many persons who try to overcome severe handicaps and/or setbacks by sheer hard work. Plastic surgeon Dr Sharad Kumar Dicksheet, oncologist Dr. Suresh Advani, Chartered Accountancy examination national topper Prema Jayakumar and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking are some wonderful examples of people who inspired themselves to overcome their apparently huge handicaps and/or setbacks and achieve success far greater than that achieved by people who enjoy many advantages. I’m sure each one of us personally knows at least a couple of persons who overcame huge obstacles instead of allowing the obstacles to overcome them.
At this moment, India is gripped by a large number of seemingly insurmountable problems: corruption, crime, discrimination, poverty, illiteracy, etc., etc.. Can we overcome all these problems and make our country a much better place to live in? Let’s not sit back in our armchairs and say it’s impossible. Let us all draw inspiration from Dr Sharad Kumar Dicksheet, Dr. Suresh Advani, Prema Jayakumar, Stephen Hawking and many others like them and say, Yes We Can! Let’s inspire ourselves to individually and jointly put in the effort needed to come to the day when we can declare from the bottom of our hearts that Mera Bharat Mahaan!