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CTH Story of Chetan Sharma

Copyright © 2010 Cross the Hurdles. All rights reserved.

Cross the Hurdles brings you the inspiring story of Mr. Chetan Sharma who have achieved success despite of his being blind. Here are the excerpts from our talk with Mr. Sharma.

Quick Fire!

1. Favorite movie(s)
I don’t see movies too frequently, however, Bagban, mukaddar ka sikandar, Sparsh, Angoor, Hangama are some of them. Naseer and amitab are my favourites, although, You didn’t ask for them!

2. Favorite books
Mac Beth by Shakespeare, Animal farm by George orvel, Awaken the giant by Anthony robbins, Nirmala by Prem chand, Wings of fire By Dr. Kalam, Chandrkanta by Devki nandan Khatri, Talkhiyan by Sahir, Rasidi ticket by Amrita pritam and so on. Any book or work that gives some sort of sgrength to me, is always nearer to my heart.

3. Favorite color
White, green and of course red.

4. Craziest thing that you have ever done in your life
I’m too crazy about rains. Whenever there are rains, I’ll run to the terrace and block the drainage for a while and enjoy splashing and playing with water. My kids are my natural companions during this apparently funny game.

5. Most Valuable thing that you have purchased till now
A computer and an Internet connection. It opened a new world for me. Without computer or internet, intellectually,I would have died by now. Who would have read Mac beth for me? Who would have updated me with all the national and international events? Today’s TV channels? Honestly speaking, I can’t digest them. Except, BBC, CNN, discovery and few of them. But computer and internet had given me wide range of choices. This has not only made me independent,but gives me enormous pride when I help somebody else to fix his or her computer related problems. I call the computers as talking eyes of the visually challenged persons.

6. If you are marooned on an island what 5 things you would like to keep with you
Hope, strength and a strong desire to turn things around? (just 3 of them)

7. Favorite food
Rice and rajma

8. Your biggest strength
The capacity to understand the things in their entirety. I’m always thankful to god for this ability and everything that has been blessed upon me. This ability to understand a person and situation quickly, helps me to analyse problems very early and often, I’m able to kill the monster when it is little.

9. If you take birth again, who would you like to be born as?
SMT Indira Gandhi.Iron lady in a true sense. A leader should be always like her.I wish today, we could have few leaders like her. I salute her martyrdom.

10. The thing(s) that you hate
Excuses, cowardice, inability, Hippocracy etc.

11. The first thig you do right after awaking up in the morning
Prepare myself for a new challenge. Pray to God.

11.The last thing you before falling asleep in the night
Thank God that I could live another day of my life. Still, there are persons who could not make to it.

12.You prefer sons or daughters?
Honestly speaking, I can’t answer this. How could one prfer his or her one eye? One leg Or onehand at the expense of other?

14. Oft-repeated word/sentence by you
Very difficult question to answer, however, “Actually”, “but natural” “let me try to understand it better” “honestly speaking” are few words or sentences, I often repeat.

15. If world is going to be destroyed in next 5 minutes. What would you do during this time?
First of all, I will thank God for this wonderful life and if possible, I will expect my kids and others to do the same and not to panic in anycase. After this, I will see if I can turn things around.

16. What was your resolution on the new year?
Honestly speaking, none. Over the years, I have developed a habit of celebrating maximum possible new years in a single year. As a result of it there are many resolutions in a year. Sounds unorthodox? nun the less, this is the truth.

17. The best gift that somebody can offer to you?
Sincerity.

18.Your bedroom take fire what would you rescue at first?
If I’m alone,Myself nothing else.

19. The town/country that you want to visit?
Perhaps, every place on the mother earth which can offer tranquility, peace and harmony. Any place that can fascinate me.

20. If you can meet one person of your choice, dead or alive, known or not, who would this be?
Sahir, Sahir ludhiyanvi. I had the desire to visit his grave, but Few months back, It was in the news that for some reasons, graves of Sahir, Mohammad Rafi and those of many other people have been destroyed by administrators of that graveyard so is my dream with these graves. It has pained me a lot.

21. If you could change one thing your past, what would it be?
Quality of education and only the quality of education is the thing which I would like to see changed in my life. Many people might think that I may desire for my sight, but to the horror of others, I’m thankful to God for not blessingme with physical sight instead almighty blessed me with a vision that is a commodity in scarcity.

Chetan Sharma in his own words

Chetan sharma.jpg
Born on 23.04.1968 at Pilani (Rajasthan) I lost my eye sight due to eye cancer at the age of three. I completed my schooling from a school situated at Ajmer and could managed to secure 90th position in 10th standard in the entire state of Rajasthan competing with lacs of students who were equipped with site. After completing my schooling. I decided to pursue Hindi typing and stenography training from A Delhi based institute. In 1991 I was appointed in Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) as stenographer. After my appointment in OBC, I continued my education and did my graduation from government college Ajmer. I am a Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Banking & Finance, Mumbai which is a premier institute for Bankers in India. After much struggle, in year 2002 I was allowed to take promotion test in our Bank and acquired 78th position in written test and subsequent interview for the post of JMG scale I officer. In year 2006 again I got an opportunity to prove myself and I got the promotion to the post of manager after successfully competing in written test In our Bank. I was placed at 17th position. In year 2009 again I took the promotion test for the post of senior manager (which is designated in regional office "Assistant Regional Manager") and could secure 14th position after written test and interview. I have participated in various interbank competitions and have won many prizes in interbank debate, GK quiz competitions.


I am married and we have two kids Shruti (12) and Aaditya (10) my wife is sighted and has always encouraged me to fight hard the challenges of life.. My hobbies include listening GOOD music (not the shor sharaba of our time) reading Hindi, Urdu and English literature is my favourite leisure time activity. Computers and cell phones have always caught my imagination. I can independently use computer using a screen reading software. Same is the case with cell phones. My cell phone is installed with a talking software that helps me to independently organize myself. Currently, I am learning web designing to launch my own website. I don't want to be dependent on others for this website. To learn soft skills, I have completed few online courses from Hadley school for the Blind, USA.

Interview with CTH

Did you find any problems while you were doing your studies..I mean did lack of infrastructure in the Indian scenario pose any kind of problems for you?

Yes, I did face many issues while studying. text books were hardly available in Braille. Having a book in Braille, was indeed a matter of privilege those days. I can recall converting the entire text book in to Braille manually. It used to take weeks if not months to convert a text book in to Braille and there were many text books that needed to be converted into Braille. Another difficulty that I often faced was of access to latest study material. I had to rely upon converting books into Braille alternatively, I had to hire a person who will read for me and my study, to some extent, depended on the sincerity of the person whom I had hired. But at the end of the day, it’s the result that matters not the difficult path.


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 manage my day to day routine of my own, but at certain critical junctures, such as deciding a colour combination, I do take the help of my wife and kids.


How did you can your wife came you got together...was it a love marriage or an arranged one?

Initially, it was to be an arrange one, but at the end of the day, it turned out to be a love marriage. We came in touch with each other through a advertisement published in a leading magazine.


How do your kids and wife take your physical status?

The most beautiful thing about my family is that I hardly feel I lack a physical ability. Here everybody understands, even my 10 year son also realizes that blindness is a physical condition and almost everybody has a certain type of physical condition. For instance, A person can be very tall, other can be a short man. An individual can be fatty but other could be very thin. My blindness is hardly discussed in my family. My kids take pride in discussing with their friends that despite of his blindness, their father has acquired a status. Status that is enviable. So far, I haven’t seen any sign of inferiority complex in their mind.


What would you like to change in your life if you got one chance to change?

If I get a chance to change something, I would love to change the quality of education imparted to visually challenged persons and other children with special needs. Specially, visually challenged girls and other girls with special needs.


Do you feel India is a disabled friendly country? What all needs to be done?

Not at all. When I say not at all, I don’t refer to the infrastructure nor do I mean to suggest or point out the poor quality of education extended to disabled children specially visually challenged kids. I want to emphasize the attitude of family members of disabled people.

It’s the bitter irony of their life that until they earn anything they are treated like a liability by their parents and other family members but when they start to earn, they become an asset for the family and no one in the family want to loose this asset by marrying them. Family, the basic institution of the society starts to treat them as note printing machines once they begin to earn. I can recall when A visually child born in a family in Rajasthan his parents were going to throw him in a well. At this time, a neighbour took pity and requested the parents to hand over the child to him. When the same boy whom the parents were about to throw in the well, began to earn, the parents suddenly started to love their child and wanted him back.


To get a treatment at parity with their sighted counterparts is still a distant dream for them. There needs to be drastic shift in the attitude of family members. Once it happens, time is not far when society and government alter their attitudes towards them.


Have you ever felt any kind of emotional outbursts or complexes due to your physical status? If yes then how could you manage it?

Many times I feel emotionally charged when people try to frame opinion about my abilities on the basis of my physical condition. But I know the stigma that persists in many quarters of the society will not perish so quickly. It may take years if not decades when there is a noticeable shift in the attitudes of the common men.


What are your hobbies or leisure time activities?

Reading good literature, be it of Hindi, English or Urdu is my hobby. I also love to hear good music. Music that has some soothing effect. Another leisure time hobby of mine is to share good text messages.


How do you react when somebody pities you?

When someone pities on me, I just smile and ignore that comment or gesture because I know they have the limited understanding and need to be pitied themselves.Almighty has blessed them with less comprehension.


What message you would like to give to the persons suffering from some kind disabilities?

The only message to persons with disability or you can say to everybody is:

"For every ailment under the sun.
There is a remedy or there is none.
If there be one, try to find it.
If there be none, never mind it."

Just try to change everything that you can and don't shed tears on what you can't change. I always carry this prayer in my pocket. "grant me serenity to accept things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to understand the difference between two."


Have you ever been discriminated because of your disability?

Discrimination, yeah, almost at every stage of life there comes a discrimination of some sort. Take for example the social life. whenever there is a question of meeting a social obligation, a person of disability is the last choice to go and attend the function. But after my marriage, I didn't face such issues. at family level. Nor do I want to cry much over them because as persons with disability we will face all these type of things. Everybody should take it as challenge and prove to the society that they are the force to reckon with.