AN INCIDENT THAT CHANGED MY LIFE
On 24th Jan’01 at the age of 24, with overwhelming family and friend’s support, decent education and livelihood by my stride I considered myself really fortunate.
Those days I was pursuing CA Inter (2nd level CA exam now known as IPCC from ICAI) and had just completed my articleship.
I was in the process of migrating to Cyprus for further studies and had a sense of satisfaction of things falling into place.
The same evening I had my first breakthrough meeting with my client with the bankers.
With sheer exuberance, I boarded a train from Ahmedabad and was singing the words thanking God for having blessed me with such a beautiful life.
However that very same day I met with a fatal train accident and both of my lower limbs had to be amputated.
Overnight I was certified with 80% disability.
This incident left my family, friends, and relatives in trauma.
I still remember the pain running through their eyes.
During my hospitalization, there were a lot of other things happening in Gujarat from earthquakes to 3 untimely deaths of our relatives.
Not to forget then the unfriendly gestures, jibes and ridiculous apprehension put forth by visitors regarding my future!
HOW I DEALT WITH THE LOSS OF MY LIMBS
- Fortunately, nothing could dampen the spirit of my family towards my rehabilitation.
- Because of their support I was able to walk again with the help of artificial limbs and also ride a two-wheeler all within the span of 1 year.
- In the initial days, the doctors advised me to go for indigenous prosthesis – they are artificial limbs which could be attached and detached.
- So every time I had to walk/travel I would fix my own leg with nuts and bolts. It was a lot of work but on the doctor’s recommendation, we went for this.
- I don’t criticize the doctors as back then times were different.
- I hailed from a higher middle-class family and my parents always insisted that I go for a European brand of artificial limbs (which I use as of now) however due to lack of interest in socializing then, I was a bit reluctant to get an expensive one.
- Over time I opted for a European Brand which really worked and triggered my confidence to the next level as it made me more self-reliant.
- I regret not opting for this before nevertheless, it was a lesson I had to learn!
PURSUING WORK AND STUDIES
After the accident, I was under the impression that once I relaunch myself in the market independently, I will get the same warmth and care.
I was passionately looking for the same moment, but unfortunately, things did not turn out the way I hoped it would.
Full of exuberance, I knocked doors of my clients but none of them turned up, only to learn after some point of time that they were being handled by practitioners I referred.
The network through which I used to procure assignments was broken.
People can be very reluctant to work with someone with a disability.
At this point in time, I realized that People with disability have to work even harder to be accepted.
Where a normal person scores 50%, I needed to score 75% to match their perception that I am capable as well. It is funny but that’s how it is.
My dreams started shattering.
As more and more I started interacting with people, I realized the intensity of constraints I possessed.
I lost the confidence of appearing for job interviews and turned more conscious about the disability I carried.
Most of my friends by then had settled with a family/had migrated and progressed in academic and professional career same with my siblings. I left stagnant.
GETTING BACK TO CA STUDIES
My parents advised me to complete my professional education which I had left mid-way and then to prioritize earnings.
With their support, I resumed my Chartered Accountancy studies.
It was tough especially when I had to just sit and study.
All my life I used to walk and study, was not the kind to sit and study.
To acclimatize with the academic environment (of sitting and studying and not walking) was the toughest aspect of my life.
After much deliberation, I started studying.
However, I would keep thinking about my life before the accident.
I was not a very skilled artist but I started to draw my life before my accident. I drew my hospital room, the roads I used to travel etc.
I had an amazing childhood and enjoyed my life and turned nostalgic about all of it. I used to pen down almost each and every moment I lived until my accident.
Though I wanted to study – subconsciously I was never out of my past!
30 days prior to my accident, I went for a holiday with my friends and had a great time –I used to stare at those pics for hours together.
My Direct Taxation book which I was carrying when I met with an accident had my blood stains.
I did not realize but I turned obsessive about all of these things and started living in the past.
Though I had artificial limbs and could walk but the very fact that I could not do certain things used to bother me subconsciously and dwelling on the past created more pain.
Because of all this, I was not even clearing my Chartered Accountancy exams.
I with sheer aggression kept on banging my head for securing a meaningful livelihood but had moderate success.
Gradually, I felt a difference in attitude from my friends and relatives.
I felt being discarded or taken for granted as I had nothing great happening in my life.
I was completely baffled with my priorities – Education, Meaningful livelihood, Marriage or Rehabilitation.
I turned willfully blind in the hunt for a breakthrough to prove my worth to the society.
I started distancing myself from my dear and near ones.
MY DAD’S ILLNESS
As it is said, we generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: Inspiration or Desperation.
In July 2003, my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
My father had a lot of hopes from me.
He was a Chartered Accountant by profession and served as VP in a leading PSU in Baroda (India).
He wanted to see me qualify as Chartered Accountant, settled and married but for me now it was like Time Against the race.
I was distressed the most as had the guilt of letting him down.
My siblings made me realize how best I could reciprocate to my dad.
I too realized the fact that I was pushing too hard for success.
I was only an inch away from my destination but it was my own perceptions that lead me to unwarranted circumstances.
It was me myself who made life a mess.
In 2006, after a prolonged disease, my dad expired.
I regret I was not able to fulfill his aspirations during his presence.
I took almost 6 years after my accident to qualify as a Chartered Accountant.
When I took a break and did not consider continuing with my Chartered Accountancy studies – I always felt the charm in my life was missing.
I felt incomplete.
Even when people started accepting me, the missing tag of a Chartered Accountant (CA) used to keep me restless and breathless.
My wife – Darrshana used to then console me for the same.
Nevertheless, with his (my Dad’s) blessings, today I am a Qualified Chartered Accountant, CFM, M.com and Direct Tax Practioner working in Dubai (UAE).
I am happily married and life is amazing. She has no severe physical constraint.
I have a child who is now 9 years old.
I own a house we always dreamed of.
I can proudly say that CA has transformed my life from ‘disabled to differently abled‘.
A LITTLE ABOUT DUBAI
- I moved to Dubai obviously for monetary reasons. Dubai is one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
- This city has loads to offer to the CA fraternity.
- Also, there is a hell of a difference when you see perception towards disabled people in Dubai as compared to India.
- I don’t wish to be complaint box but there are things which the Indian Government can learn improve upon and implement for the differently abled.
- There are many HR consulting sites here – one can approach them.
- Most of the global brands so far I have interacted with never charge a single penny prior or post recruitment except for resume building and mentoring.
- Be careful to notorious elements. Don’t blindly follow social media messages unless and until from a genuine source.
- There are quite a few social media groups active here for such activities – The key is to find the right platform.
- I have learned a lot in the last 17 years.
- I am blessed to have family, friends, and colleagues who made me believe that – A ship is always safe at the shore, but that’s not what it is built for. Don’t dare to settle.
- Make your doubters eat their own words.
- I guarantee you can do it with your daredevil attitude. Remember, the numerical strength of attitude is 100 %.
- It is not your aptitude but your attitude that will determine your altitude.
- Realize that when you feel like giving up, you may just be inches away from the winning line. As Tony Robbins rightly puts it as – It is your DECISIONS and NOT YOUR CONDITIONS that determine your destiny.
- He went through it – she went through it – Why can’t you? Take one step forward and remember most of the quitters quit when they are just two meters away from the winning line.
- Never measure the height of a mountain, until you have reached the top.
- Michael Jordan once quoted – I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed – he concluded.
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