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CTH Story of Chetan Sharma
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.
Chetan Sharma in his own words
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.