"My happy and perfectly normal life took an ugly turn in 1996. I was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis. I loathed those hospital visits and painful nights. Most of all, I hated the fact that I couldn’t dance.
I used to love dressing up, and participating in school functions. I would dress up as Radha in many acts, and had even won medals and appreciation. However, the frequent visits to doctors and the physical trauma made it difficult for me to attend school on a regular basis, leave alone dance.
It was my father who never gave up on me. A true Army man by nature, he withstood all odds and comments about spending all his money on my treatment. In 2004, the doctors declared that I wouldn’t live for more than five to seven days. Though I survived, neurofibromatosis paralysed my right leg. Now, I walk with the aid of a crutch.
My life changed on both the physical and emotional fronts. My husband was unable to empathise with my struggle and eventually remarried. The depression, fever and anxiety attacks made me miserable. To distract my mind from the stress, I started stitching and knitting at a centre for differently-abled people.
A major turning point for me was when I won a bronze medal in a regional-level knitting competition. I needed this boost to resurrect my faith in myself. I knew that there would be no looking back now.
That year, with the support of an international NGO, I started an organization for those who are differently-abled. I head the organization and we fight for the rights of many others like me. We help this community in availing government schemes, forwarding their cases in courts and other support that they require.
The reason I came up with this organization was not just assistance and acceptance. I was well aware of what a differently-abled person has to endure. My failed marriage had given me an insight into the life of a differently-abled person at the hands of the unsympathetic and unloving.
I want the world to look at differently-abled people in a new light. I don’t want us to be pitied by the good and ill-treated by the callous."