Every child has a role-model , a person whom she/he wants to imitate , behaves like him and most importantly, picks up , knowingly or unknowingly , the philosophy of his life which guides her/him throughout the way of life. Obviously , we choose our role models later in life also but the first one in the childhood always instills something unforgettable.
I still remember the day when Sanjaydada , my cousin , first came to our house. I was a mere kid and he probably was in class 7 or 8. I was utterly taken aback as I watched that he was unable to walk properly , his right leg was as thin as a stick . I had no idea at that age about the cause of his illness , that he was a victim of post-polio ( poliomyelitis ). It was life threatening for him but somehow he survived only to limp for the rest of his life. All these medical terms and reasons I learnt later. That evening my aunt declared that they were soon shifting to Kolkata and that it would be easy for them to visit us often.
On that very evening I became a fan of Sanjaydada . Firstly , I was throwing some awkward glances at him ( as one can well understand was quite natural for a little girl who hadn’t seen anyone like him before so closely ) but he soon befriended me by telling the story of Kiplings’ ” Jungle Book ” . Then he showed me some magic tricks , and he promised me to tell more stories of Mowgli and also that he would help me to learn the magic tricks. So our first encounter ended with a happy note.
But it was later that I realized his inner strength of mind and indomitable spirit with which he prepared himself to face this world . In spite of his difficulties , he learnt to ride a motorcycle when he was only 16 ! My aunt was howling on one of her visits that Sanjaydada had admitted himself to a driving school . Everybody was surprised and a diatribe followed to prevent him . He listened calmly to everyone , then said , ” It’s not a decent idea to depend on other’s will when I need to travel everytime. As it’s difficult for me to cover even the shortest distance by foot , it’s better that I should learn to tame the vehicle. ” He later told me that he had a hard time in the Motor Training School as they were not ready to take the risk at first. Some how he managed to make them understood with his passion to learn . That was another thing , he was a born orator , he actually knew the art to convince anyone of anything .
I was not very good in Geography. One day I came back home from school scoring only 50% marks in it. Dada was present that day. He asked me about my result and I started to sob. I told him that my Geography teacher scolded me and concluded that ” ….in this way you’d never be able to secure higher marks in this subject ” I was still sobbing. He said , ” Silly Sis , everything is achievable , you need the determination and positive attitude …look at me , nobody was there to support me when I was in the training school , but I passed with flying colours . It took some more time than the normal guys but I was sure that I would succeed ! ..and remember the sports ? I came 2nd in the flat race and I ran with my crutch …” I remembered that for sure . Everybody was surprised when Sanjaydada refused to take part in the event which was allotted for physically handicapped boys in the Annual Sports Event of his father’s office. He rather said that he would like to participate in those events which were open to all. And he came 2nd in the 100 meter race !! He suffered from severe pain that night but he was never ready to brand himself as ” UNABLE ” or ” HANDICAPPED ” . It was and still is , his consecration to give his best in everything , to prove himself worthy.
He taught me the way of life . He always said to me “ If I can do such and such things with only one normal leg , why are you afraid to venture in with two of yours ? ..never underestimate your inner strength and courage .”
He showed me that with determination and strong will , everything is achievable . All you need is to look for the stars with stars in your eyes.
Sanjaydada now works in a MNC and lives abroad . He is still there to support me , to give me courage whenever I need it . He is still #MyRoleModel.