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CTH Story of Anil Pakina
Determination and dedication have been Anil's strongest points. He has well adapted himself to his physical condition. He is bold and always ready to face whatever situation comes to him.
Anil's story in his own wordsThis happened in Nacharam, Hyderabad. Couple of days after having polio drops in my 7th month, I had serious loose motions and high fever, then my parents took me to a doctor. Let me tell you my parents were not well educated and not financially good as well. That doctor gave me an expired injection on left leg and after coming home, it seemed that leg stopped functioning, and then parents in all worry and confusion took me to same doctor on same day, then he gave one more injection, and this time to both legs. My parents didn’t know what is going on, but it was too late , both my legs stopped functioning. That day he played with lives of 7 babies (including me). All 7 were affected with polio and I heard that I was the best of the lot, as others were paralyzed from below neck. People lodged a police complaint and doctor's degree got cancelled, but the damage is already done which cannot be reverted, its 7 lives. Anyways, atleast it stopped that idiot not to play with more lives ".
How do you manage your day to day activities...a brief description i.e. with somebody's help or you are able to cope up with routine activities yourself?
I live with my mother, but then do all my work on own. I do all my chores on wheelchair. My office cab comes to pick me, I go near cab with my wheelchair, and shift inside cab. I have kept one wheelchair at office, once I reach office, the security person or my cab driver gets the wheelchair which is in reception, and I get on to it, then go to floor on my own. I rarely sit on wheelchair, only when I need to move I use it. Otherwise I would shift to normal chair. Whenever I want to go out for shopping or sight seeing, I book cab and carry personal chair. I do not take any help wherever I can manage myself. If the ramps are steep or roads are uneven I seek my friend’s help. Luckily all through my life I have had good people around me. They do not treat me differently, they feel that I am competitive in every thing. Now before I go to any place, I enquire about it, whether it is accessible. I have been to United States, Dubai. Have not faced a single issue. Those places are paradise for wheelchair users.
What do you think about marriage and life partner?
I don’t like the perceptions that people with disabilities (PWD’s) should marry only disabled. Does that sound right ? Is this not discriminating ourselves? I am not against marrying disabled. But I don’t like if it is set as rule. Ideal girl in my view should have individuality, strong-hearted, and should have respect for elders.
Where do you see yourself after 10 years from now?
May be starting my own software company or doing some business.
There is no second thought on the matter that we are many times discriminated due to our challenges but if you face a situation, then how do you cope up with such feelings?
Many times I felt discouraged. Even my college staff used to ask me, why I took risk of coming to college. They say even if I complete studies, I would not get any job, why I was wasting money and straining my parents, I used to get very down. Those days as Internet was not popular, I did not know if there are any people like me who are successful in life. So, I always got into depression. But then my father used to encourage me. He used to say, "Do not worry about job, just finish your studies and lets see. May be you can think of your own business like starting a Petrol bunk or a Gas Agency". My mother too used to boost my confidence, and then again I get back to normal thinking and used to get more focused in studies. I used to think only one thing, that if a normal person doesn’t get education, he will have many other options for livelihood, they can travel to any place, work at any place. But that’s not the case with me, education is very very important, as the other options which normal person have are not feasible. That fear used to haunt me, and which made me to focus more on education. My schooling didn’t go smooth, to take an example, my engineering college is 7 floor building, I have chosen that college because it had elevator, but the elevator used to work only 2 days a week and would be down because of some or other issue for rest of the days, still I used to go to college, sit on ground floor till the evening and collect notes from my friends. The reason I use to go to college even when I know elevator doesn’t work is to make parents feel happy, otherwise they would get really sad thinking even though they have put in efforts in sending me to college, still am not even able to get to the classroom. In my resume I never put my physical condition status and whenever I go for interviews I used to get rejected saying that this job may not be suitable for you or there is lot of travel involved or our work place is not accessible, and some wouldn’t even mention the reason. I waited for 2 long years to get a job in MNC, and then joined Dell International Services, Hyderabad and since then there is no looking back.
India is nowhere comparable to US in providing facilities to PWD’s. They are so strict in following the laws. Every citizen knows about the ADA (American Disability Act) act, even if you ask school going kid, they will talk about this law. They take good care for even a small aspect in making places accesible. Would you believe if I say that I have not taken the help of a single person for pushing or lifting my wheelchair anywhere. Every restaurant, coffee shop, shopping places, theaters, public places have well designed ramps which would movement easy. I could just peddle myself to anywhere I want. It was such amazing experience, have not felt that I have some physical problem. Even people would not offer you help, they think its an offense to offer help unless you ask for. They treat you so nicely and equally. Here in India people give weird looks when you go out to a public place. In USA even kids are very matured, I really really liked everything about America. I found wheelchair users everywhere and every place I visited, more than what I have seen in India. There are dedicated parking places for them and nobody can dare to use them, if they are not disabled. Even here in India we have laws, but they are not followed properly, and many times the government bodies doesn’t enforce these laws strictly, they would exist only on paper. In USA, wheelchair users have many options, they can play any sport they want, everything is so easy there, you just need to think and you will be surprised to see that it is already thought of and can easily be done. The entrance to the wheelchair users is always from the main entrance only, unlike in India some places we need to go via back door or backyard or service elevators. I respect India and as it is my mother land, but people talk so big about our culture, our customs, but for me they don’t mean anything, first respecting your fellow mate is important, and treating everyone with equality is very important, which exists in US. I do not blame entirely on government, even people have to be sensitized and do their bit to build an inclusive society. And one thing to keep in mind is, the accessible places are not just meant for people who born with disabilities, but they can be leveraged by people who have met with accidents, elderly people and suffering with some or other disease. So, everyone of us will go through this phase, imagine when you are old and if someone asks you to be at home because the places are not accessible and they cannot carry you, you will be house bound watching 4 walls around you. So, we need to wipe off the thought its not my problem and start realizing it is everyone’s problem and its our duty to fix it.
Have you ever felt any kind of emotional outbursts or complexes due to your physical status? If yes then how do you manage the change in your emotional reactions in different stages in your life?
The only reason I get reminded of my disability is for marriage. Whenever I talk to people for marriage, I introduce myself with my disability first, and immediately the other party would end the conversation. They would not even want to know any other thing about me.
Have you ever been discriminated because of your disability?
Yes. My dad’s parents were against me getting educated. They thought it was waste of money and time. They discouraged me to a great extent; they many times asked my dad to utilize money spent on my education to buy assets on my name, so that I would have means of livelihood. But now no one dares to repeat the same and now they take my example and ask their children and grandchildren to follow my steps.
What are your hobbies or leisure time activities?
Watching romantic movies. Reading love stories. Knowing different cultures. Making friends, learning and exploring technologies.
How do you react when somebody pities you?
I pity them back, saying how immature they are. We can overcome physical deformities, but maturity and mental issues are really tough to overcome.
Who has been your greatest motivating force in your life?My father, mother, brother & sister (younger to me). Without them I would not have been in this position.
Education: BE [Computer Science Engineering]
Devdas (Sharukh Khan) I madly love all the dialogues in this movie (jab ek baath hothi thi, mein tumhe yaad kartha hoon, jab jab saanse letha hoon, thab thab), Arth, Hangover, Before Sunrise. 50 First Dates. I like parallel/offbeat cinema.
A walk to remember. Nicholas Sparks books.
Green, all shades
Craziest thing that you have ever done in your life.
Took pictures with almost 20 beautiful air hostess on Emirates flight on my trip to San Diego California.
Most Valuable thing that you have purchased till now
Building a home for my mother.
If you are marooned on an island what 5 things you would like to keep with you
a)Anushka Sharma b)Manisha Koirala (when she was young) c)Rekha (when she was young) d)Angelina Jolie e)Drew Barrymore
Hyderabadi Dum Chicken Biryani. Chipotle.
Your biggest strength
Smiling..no matter however sad I am.
The thing(s)that you hate
The first thing you do right after awaking up in the morning
Till today, whenever I wake up, I sometimes forget that my father has passed away. I think is it really true ? and after few seconds I realize it is indeed true. I wish some day, it turns false.
The last thing you think before falling asleep in the night
Tomorrow I will meet my dream girl.
You prefer sons or daughters
Sons and daughters/ twins
Oft-repeated word/sentence by you
Always smile, you never know someone might fall in love with you.
If world is going to be destroyed in next 5 minutes. What would you do during this time
I will be bewildered and get close to my mom to spend those few minutes, because that’s the purest love you could get.
The best gift that somebody can offer to you
The town/country that you want to visit
If you can meet one person of your choice, dead or alive, known or not, who would this be
My Dad. He passed away in 2003, just one week after I wrote my last engineering exam. He used to carry me on his shoulders starting from my school till my engineering. When someone asks my dad “do you think your son will get job”, he used to say, "it is just for my son satisfaction I am getting him educated. Even if he does not get a job, I will keep him in my eyes and take care of him life long". I wish if he could see whatever little success I achieved now. I really miss him.