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Bindi Bottoms
Pinky Shankar Project Coordinator, Bangalore

"Pinky Shankar comes across as a bubbly girl with a lot of zeal for life. It would take you some time to realize that she only has 10 percent vision. There will come a day when she will no longer be able to see. An independent and self-made woman, she has had to overcome many obstacles to get to where she is today.

Pinky works as a project coordinator with an MNC and is a popular young woman. She is a trained Carnatic singer and never misses a chance to hum in her free time. It is easy to miss that behind that beautiful smile is a history of self-loathing and depression that lasted for 10 long years.

She was born with normal vision. When she was five, her parents noticed that Pinky was not able to find small objects if they fell on the floor or read the blackboard from where she sat in school. It was during a visit to the ophthalmologist that they discovered that she suffered from Retinatis Pigmentosa. It is a condition that causes a slow loss of vision, beginning with decreased night vision and loss of peripheral (side) vision and ending in blindness. Unfortunately, the condition is incurable.

She underwent normal schooling and did everything that children her age would do. In Class 10 her vision started deteriorating rapidly. The doctor suggested that she needed to stop reading and stressing her eyes out since that would accelerate the degeneration. It was then that her father decided to stop her education. While other children her age studied, played and made friends, she was confined to the four walls of her room. This led her into depression.

One day while watching TV, she saw an interview of a blind woman who was successfully running her business. The interview made her feel rejuvenated and hopeful. She called up the television channel and asked them to connect her with that lady. This changed the course of her life. That businesswoman mentored her and suggested that she visit a national organization for the visually-challenged in Bangalore. Taking a leap of faith, Pinky followed her mentor’s advice. She got trained in many areas including personality development and spoken English that would make her job-ready.

She then enrolled herself in a college for the differently-abled and got through a diploma in computer application with flying colors. But a job was still a distant dream. Many companies that came for campus placements rejected her when they came to know about her condition in spite of her clearing their aptitude and written tests successfully.

That is when a few of her friends recommended her for a post in the MNC, under the company’s policy of providing opportunities to the differently-abled. Pinky landed the job after successfully clearing the interview. Today, she is an independent woman who shoulders her family’s responsibilities and lives each day to the fullest."


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