"When life throws lemons at you, make a lemonade and ENJOY"-Dr. Pratima

September 6, 2018

When life throws lemons at you, make a lemonade and ENJOY
Life is not usually what you think and plan ahead for your future. It’s a roller-coaster ride filled with adventures, surprises and fun. Hardships are definitely one of the very important part of this fun-filled ride which you do not anticipate at all.

I had also started planning to choose my dream ride when I started understanding life and its nuances. I was young and enthusiastic, full of passion, vision and great determination. I was selected in one of the prestigious institutes to carry out my Master dissertation. And it was none other than Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Ahmedabad. Hardly was I aware that my happiness was short-lived. I was still basking in the joy of my selection something unthinkable and unbelievable happened.

I was travelling back home from Maharaja Sayajiroa University, Baroda to Ankleshwar-an industrial town in Gujarat. I wasn’t feeling well that day as I had fought with my fellow classmate and a very good friend over a lab experiment methodology. I took my usual ladies compartment. After few stations passed by, I went and stood at the train compartment gate, to get some air. The train stopped at a station. It was a small town. The train was crowded but still I was holding my door position. There was a huge jerk as the train started and I lost my balance. Technically, I should have fallen on the platform but as there was huge gap between the platform and train track, I fell between the gaps.

It was an unexpected roller-coaster ride between the train and its tracks. It just took seconds of my legs to fall on the track and then the train wheel passed over them. I was thinking to take my legs away from the track and other wheel passed. I stayed still till the train passed. One passenger standing on the platform came and picked me up and put me on the platform. Even after this I was very positive that it would be just a fracture as I could see my legs skin intact. However, I wasn’t aware about the severity and the damage the accident had done.

Thinking that the event will have huge psychological impact on me, my parents managed to hide the facts for 10 days. Eventually, as I wasn’t getting any clear response either from the doctors or from my closed ones, I had to force my mother to tell me the truth. With a heavy heart she informed me that I have lost both of my legs. I told my mother that “It’s OK. Legs are only meant for walking”. Hardly had I realized how much impact they were going to have in my life.

I went to Artificial Limb Center in Pune, to get my prosthetics after six months of the accident. I practiced for three months to walk on my NEW legs and did well. I was accompanied by Kargil War heroes at the center, who used to practise along with me. I don’t remember as a kid how I started walking, but life gave me another chance to feel what walking on your own feet was like.
I went away from my home to complete my master degree in Geotechnology the same year and came out with flying colours. I had full support of my professors, lecturer, and friends. It was an incredible roller-coaster journey of challenges and emotions of six months, where I was learning how to manage my NEW life without any support. All the smallest things were amplified in terms of pain, rigour, effort and patience. Before the accident, I never thought that bending or jumping or dancing would be so challenging. Emotions at times take toll on your performance but I had cemented my mind and soul to excel in whatever I planned to do in my life. I was very optimistic since my school days and being a sportsperson gave me motivation, passion, vision, and determination to shape myself and my future. I knew that this is where all the action happens and I can’t run away from it.

Life was moving at its pace but my ambitions were moving at a great pace. Right after my masters, I got a job and started working. I worked as a Resource Scientist, a project manager with Govt. of Gujarat and even at a BPO. However, I wasn’t satisfied. I moved to Delhi to prepare of Civil Services but luck was not on my side. However, I was lucky to get selected for a Ph.D. program at TERI-SAS, Delhi. It was a dream that I had since my graduation days. It was again a tough phase not physically but mentally.

Meanwhile, I fell in love and decided to get married. My parents were the happiest to hear this and started preparing for the wedding. However, life has to show you the dark side at times and keeps throwing difficulties at you. The marriage was called off at the last moment due to my leg condition. My parents were shattered and depressed. But, I did not have the liberty to tear myself apart as my PhD was in line and I also had to handle my parents. I moved ahead in life with a heavy heart but was happy that I was doing what I was supposed to do. I graduated and my family was there to support me at my Ph.D. convocation. It was the happiest day of my life.

I came in touch with Major D. P. Singh on Facebook and joined The Challenging Ones. He was a motivation for me. Being a sportsperson since my school days, I was drawn towards sports activities. I started taking parts in marathons and explored my ability to do more than what I thought of. Presently, I am working as a Research Scientist with a think tank and pursuing my dreams of a researcher. I am always excited to know what life has for me in future.

My accident, was never a blessing but it wasn’t a curse too. It has given me beautiful moments and people. It’s just that when people show sympathy towards your condition; blame you for your wrong karma from past life; look down on your parents as their daughter won’t be able to get married; and above that you can’t dance-one thing that you love the most; can’t go in water with your prosthetics; and can’t be carefree-as you have to take care of your legs, you sit and think what went wrong. But, life makes sure to treat people with struggle and hardships who have the capability to handle it. YOU DUST YOURSELF DOWN AND PULL YOURSELF UP.

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