BANGALORE: We know the word differently-able is more appropriate than the word disabled to describe people who are physically challenged. Yet, it is a truth that we have to travel way forward to change our attitude towards such people to be on par with the differences in these two denotations.
And the attitude of the society poses a greater challenge than the challenges caused by the physical limitations for such people. Dr Lakshmipradha, who overcame most of such challenges, speaks out how tough was her journey to success.
When initiated into school, Lakshmi was much shorter than other tiny tots. Her right leg was in plaster from the thigh to the toe. She never wanted to step out of the comforts of her home and go to this unfamiliar world. She was not aware how difficult was her father, a banker, to get an admission for her at the school. At that tender age she was also incapable of understanding the mental stress of her mother who left her government job to care this special kid. She was equally unaware of the sacrifices of the mother-who stood under a tree on the school campus every day anxiously praying until her kid came out of the classroom. But, now Lakshmi acknowledges that it’s only because of her parents’ sheer determination and love that she could surpass hurdles, most importantly social neglect, in her life.
Her parents explored all the possibilities to make young Lakshmi confident to face life. They trained her in music. But the age of 9, when she submitted her name to participate in a music competition at school, she was not included. Her mother had to fight with the teachers to let her sing.
Her father’s transferable job was next biggest problem. Owing to her short stature, getting admission to new schools was a herculean task. Everywhere, she faced stares, sly remarks from fellow students, and the teachers doubted her capabilities. She had to prove herself time and again.
When grown up, she worked extremely hard to prepare for competitive entrance exams and secured admission in a dental course. However, the principal of the college was reluctant to admit her stating that her height would be deterrence for performing clinical procedures. After much arguments, she convinced the principal to admit her saying that he could dismiss her from the course if she was found wanting in the performance of clinical procedures.
The greatest insult of her life was yet to be faced. She had the real taste of it when she approached fellow dentists for opportunities as a young doctor. None was ready to take her as an assistant. With an indomitable spirit she fought. After much struggle she got a job as a lecturer in a private dental college. Later she moved to the IT sector for better pay and in the meantime she managed to get an MBA degree.
Now, Lakshmi is the most respected person in the organization she works. “I would have become a timid and useless woman, incapable of facing life, had not my parents (Srinivasan and Ganga) and my brother Karthik provided me with an encouraging and healthy environment. They taught me to rely on my strengths and not be defeated by my weaknesses,” Lakshmi says.
“Even though I am short in height, I have never allowed myself to be dwarfed in my thoughts and action. Today, I stand tall by my achievements,” the proud woman, who is just 3 ft. 9 in height, smiled.
(With inputs from Education Post)