Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Greater Noida resident Kritika Bali aged, has become the first Indian on wheel chair (and third one in the world) to do the Edge Walk on CN Tower in Toronto. CN Tower is 553.3m high concrete communications and observation tower in downtown Toronto, Ontorio, Canada. It is the tallest tower in the Western Hemishpere and the third tallest tower in the entire world after Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower.
On this trip, she also became the first Indian on wheel chair to zip line alongside Niagara Falls.
Kritika had gone to Canada on vacation where she decided to take this adventure. “It was an instant decision. And what I felt after doing these two, I cannot explain in words. It was thrilling, it was liberating and it was totally enjoyable,” says Kritika, back home after her trip.
Kritika, a Special Educator in Autism & Mental Retardation, teaches Computers to children who are hearing impaired as well those with mental retardation and cerebral palsy at Mata Bhagwati Chaddha Niketan, Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
“It is very sad to state that in our country we do not have an environment that encourages the disabled. Let alone encourage, even treat us a humans. Most public places are not disabled-friendly; there are hardly any places where we can go for entertainment. Disabled are forgotten people here,” says Kritika.
“As against this, in the US, I noticed that disabled are given the top priority, be it shopping malls, markets, entertainment avenues or even adventure activities,” she adds.
“But then I can’t just blame the government for this. Most people here do not accept a disability, even parents of the disabled. They either pretend that the child is normal and put her/him in regular schools or simply ignore the person as a whole. Both the things are bad for the growth and development of a disabled,” she remarks. “It is very difficult making parents understand. In fact, I spend more time counseling parents as compared to children,” she says.
The lady is a burning example of how one should live her/his despite a disability. She is financially independent, but doesn’t just laze around in her free time, like most of us do. She busies herself in pursuing her interests, be it learning classical vocal from Allahabad University, story writing or painting.
Besides, she keeps participating in different seminars and conferences that are held on the issues pertaining to disability. Recently, she was a part of the User Group Interaction at the Universal Design and Assistive Technology conference held at the Institute of Spinal Injuries, Vasant Kunj, Delhi.
“It is important to keep oneself involved as well as updated on the things happening around,” she says.