Not Differently But Divinely Abled
Story by Dr. Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta
Years after the series of happenings and occurrences that made me who I am, today when I look back, I can hear someone saying, "Miracles happen only when you allow them". And I guess, not only did I allow, but I found one too.
I vividly remember the trajectory of events on my own and some as my parents or others described them. I was 3.5 months old when I got my first fracture, somewhere in the early '90s. The doctor said that the cause must have been a mishap. But then within a year, I ended up with 3 fractures and my parents knew that these are not mere "mishaps".
We travelled to Kolkata, the nearest metro city to Siliguri, where I was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta or the brittle bone disease. And it dawned on my parents that I was no ordinary boy.
At a very young age, I took up the learning of classical dance. But in no time that came to an end because even the slightest push or pull or shock or fall during practice might end up tethering me to the bed.
When I was 5 and half the heaviness of the disease finally crept up my spine. Doctors suggested my parents to indulge me in indoor activities. I remember seeing children playing football or cricket or chasing each other down the street, and I felt you know...
My mom was a school teacher and that kind of made things easy for me in schools. She always looked after me, but then the bubble of a mother's care never lasts long, does it? In 4th standard boys used to bully me for sitting with girls. But that never really bothered me. But what did, was the things parents of others told them about me, the most common being, " Don't go near Kaustuv too often", or "Stay away from him as it may cause a fracture again".
But it was not only me. Those days we used to travel by train. And due to the disorder, I was quite skinny and underweight. People used to look at me and ask my parents, " Sab khud kha jate ho ya bachhe ko bhi kuch dete ho?" (Do you eat everything on your own or give him some too?)
That's when I knew, that this needs to be answered. But how?
Till standard 7th I continued with normal schooling and then distance learning became my new norm. I was supposed to join college - as most of us do - but there was a fall, I never knew when I started falling in.
One day in 2009, I realised I couldn't move my shoulders and other parts. But that was nothing new because by then I was quite habitual with fractures. We found that due to multiple fractures my shoulders, muscles, and all joints got jammed. And this confined me to my bed for a severely traumatic and depressing period of 6 years. Those days were beyond something I could withstand and I felt as if... as if this was the end.
On one such day, I remember crying constantly for stretched hours. I felt I was going to die and I couldn't do anything to save myself. That's when something in me moved and I knew that a voice inside doesn't want to go all hushed so soon.
Call it something from beyond or supernatural, but that solo voice planted a new life in me. I realised that I am not here for myself but others like me. And that's when I turned my disability into bliss.
Today, I am the 4th Global Icon in Disabled Leadership, a single handed graphic designer, singer, motivational speaker and India's first certified happiness coach. I have achieved what many couldn't. Because what my dis-(divine)- order, taught me is that there is no room for complaints.
And as I said, that during those days when I was keenly looking for a miracle I never realized that all along it was not out there it was in me. That I was the miracle. That perhaps finding oneself is the greatest of all bliss.