Updated: Jun 27
Story by Vinayana Khurana
Some things are really not your choice, like being born with a condition called cerebral palsy, which affects all your motor parts. But I decided to type away the rest of my story, despite my restricted mobility.
Unlike other children who were running around, I was always sitting somewhere. This took me by surprise. I was 8 and still couldn’t walk. I felt the unfairness settle in, as I watched others move.
I was then taken to AADI, the spastic society of India. Having been put through physiotherapy there, I was recommended a walker. This however did not aid me as I kept falling backward. It took me nearly 2 years to get used to the walker. I was 10 by that time.
Being an excited child with an urge to learn, I went to school despite the inconveniences. My house help supported me in class. I even took help from scribes during exams. Nevertheless, I loved going to school.
It was also around that time that computer was introduced as a subject. This was a subject of fascination for me. And I couldn’t wait to start operating it. But I was afraid of touching the school's computer thinking I would break the computer parts due to my clumsy movements. And I sat silently, watching everyone else use it. Until, my father bought me a computer!
It was a struggle learning to use the computer but I refused to give up and there I was happily typing away.
It was an arduous task. The keys were tiny and close to each other; I couldn’t press the keys. I couldn’t use my hands and had to type with my nose! With this, I was swayed by the idea of writing down my thoughts.
This joy did not last long as I ended up with severe back pain, leaving me bedridden. I was deeply hurt by my inability which stopped me from writing and going to school.
This was the hardest point in my life. I found myself in shattered dreams and needed help with everything.
One day, I told my mother to write down the poems as I narrated. I found respite in this activity.
Later, my mother gave me a manual mobile, which I eventually used for writing. I was told to send her a message for emergencies. It was initially hard. I wasn’t able to type properly and would end up typing wrong words. But I remember the day I send my mother an SMS. It was unbelievable. This was my light at the end of the tunnel.
I started writing my thoughts in that small phone, limited within 160 characters. I wanted to write more. And soon received a touch phone. The fear of breaking the phone prevented me from using it comfortably. My mother however persisted me to use the phone. With a month of practice, I was able to type properly. I have not stopped writing since then. My speed has steadily increased over the years.
Today I am a writer without a pen. I have already published two books and have completed my masters from Delhi University. My first book is a collection of poems, which were mostly typed on my phone. I never thought that my writings would see the light and was psyched, when a publisher agreed to publish them. I have also started making comic strips with the help of an application. The comic books I've read always lacked characters with disability. So I decided to create my own, in an attempt to be inclusive and educative.
Irrespective of where I am now, I still hear negative remarks from people, especially when I am outside. But I am grateful for a circle that treats me like a normal person. I hope that I will never be judged by my wheelchair.