Nikhila Chalamalasetty, a differently-abled girl from Andhra Pradesh, has come out with her own book, The Day I Started Flying. In the book, she talks about her disability, ups and downs she faced in her life and the stigmas she suffered besides raising the big question — Can disability really destroy all the dreams a person has?
“People will try to make you weak, some with sympathy and some with underestimation but you not succumb to it. You are much more than your disability,” she says, with wisdom beyond her age. “This book is the journey of my life as a differently-abled person but I feel a lot of people can relate to it,” she adds.
The situation of differently-abled people in India worries her no end. “For us everything is a challenge. It’s way too sad that our country is still taking its baby steps so far as making public places wheelchair-friendly is concerned. Few colleges and universities are wheelchair-friendly. I still remember that my father used to carry me in his arms till I finished my studies which is until the day I finished graduation. It is high time our government looks into this issue,” she says.
Excerpts from the book:
Chapter 1: My quest to find answers
Life is pretty unpredictable too and it has a totally different strategy for each individual to teach what they need to learn. The same way, it has approached me in a most unforeseen way, DISABILITY. It introduced me to many things, which I’m grateful for, by the way, that wouldn’t have crossed my path if it had taken a slightly different approach towards me. I don’t know how it would have been if life really has chosen a different path for me but whoever I am now, I am happy with myself, actually, more than happy. I’m proud of what I made myself into. Of all the things I can do, I chose to fight back to make my own identity.
“Never let one limitation take undue advantage of all your capabilities”
When I was young, I didn’t know what happened to me, neither did I care. Surprisingly and thankfully, it hasn’t even crossed my mind to regret my life ever. Slowly while growing up I realized what I did unknowingly then was right, everybody has one or the other limitation, then why to regret that. Regretting and not moving forward can’t possibly turn back the time, can it? Everyone can’t have everything, so I decided to simply thank God for what I was already bestowed with, a loving family, education, financial stability, self-confidence, a caring heart, the courage to fight the odds, optimism, etc… Every time I tried to know myself better, I fell in love with myself. Just because I can’t walk I shouldn’t overlook all those positive qualities I have.
“Whatever crosses your path, good or bad, face them with a smile”