Life is not easy for the differently abled, especially when they have negative people around to discourage them every now and then. But some people take charge and show life who’s the boss.
Here’s is Pooja Sharma’s story, who is on a wheelchair, but refuses this disability to define her. Pooja lost her legs when she was just 40 days old but that didn’t kill her spirit. She enrolled in a very well known college that failed to provide her with necessary amenities (shocking, we know). She ended up going to a better college and completing her degree, but the hurdles didn’t end. During her job interviews, all the employers were interested in talking about her disabilities rather than her abilities. But guess what? she kept going!
Here’s her entire story:
“I was forty days old when I was operated on to save my legs. The nerve damage was so extensive that every doctor my parents consulted told them that they couldn’t do anything about it. But since the very beginning, I knew what I wanted–to ‘stand’ on my own feet.
I thought of pursuing law, and when I went to Symbiosis in Pune, I thought I was finally going to achieve my dream. They built a ramp that was supposedly for my wheelchair but was too steep. I persistently tried to get it changed, but I was told to make do with what was provided, regardless of almost falling over each time. A few months later, they asked me to find admission elsewhere because they couldn’t help me anymore.
I was shattered but I didn’t let this break me. I ended up going to a better college and completing my degree. But now was the real challenge–getting a job.
How would you feel if people didn’t even consider your qualifications and directly rejected you because of your appearance? During interviews, they were only interested in my disabilities rather than my abilities. It was discouraging but eventually, I found a good job.
It wasn’t easy to be independent. I’ll never forget the night when my friend who was supposed to drive me back home, told me to get out from the car, stranded me in the middle of nowhere in Delhi, and fled. I was terrified. I called several Ubers, but every time they saw me on a wheelchair, they refused to drive me. It’s the first time I cried. But this was also the moment I decided that I’m never depending on anyone else for anything. I quickly learned how to drive, customised my car and haven’t looked back ever since.
My journey has only just begun, when you stand up for yourself and love yourself fiercely, the world sees it too — that’s how I won Miss Wheelchair India last year. What would’ve happened if I had listened to those people about how my disabilities can’t get me anywhere? Would I have even participated, let alone won?
There have been lots of challenges in my life, but I never let them define me. Whatever you think I’m lacking in, I can obviously make up with my good looks! Most people see my wheelchair first, but spend a few minutes with me, you’ll be charmed. I’m done standing up now– I’m flying!”
Check out her story on Humans Of Bombay right here: