DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

The Diamond in the Rough: A Polio Survivor's Story

Scoliosis

Kalpesh Chaudhary

Surviving Polio

I am going to explain my life struggles, and show you that you should never lose hope for any reason in your life. When I was 5 months old, I suffered Polio through injection. My parents tried to help me a lot with my recovery, but they didn't fully succeed. As time passed, I grew up and started to attend school. I was average in my studies, but had great knowledge and interest in what I was learning.   

After I completed my secondary exam, I was admitted to the Vishakhapatnam Hospital for an operation on both of my legs. During that time I suffered very much in my studies, but my friends were very cooperative and supportive. I am very thankful of them. My parents were also very supportive. They always encouraged me to never stop pursuing my dreams.    After my operations I felt very weak in my body, but  managed during that time. I didn’t like to study because my classes were on the third and fourth floors. I studied in North’s Gujarat Palanpur School. They never agreed to hold the classes on the ground floor, so I used a tricycle.   

In 1996, I started working in the diamond industry at my cousin’s office. I used a four wheeler scooter for transportation. After two years they gave me a salary of one thousand rupees per month. After my fifth year my salary increased by five thousand Rupees, but I was not satisfied with my job. During that time my father died due to a heart attack. Since I’m the eldest in my family, all the responsibilities went to me. We had no cash, but we did have my father’s good will- this was very valuable in the diamond market. I left my job, and started polish diamond trading in Palanpur. After some time, the market condition was slow so I started traveling by bus in the Ahmadabad diamond market to purchase diamonds. It was one hundred fifty kilometers away from my town. I usually went there every week. Sometimes I had troubles on the way when it was rainy season. During that time, I walked on my hands, and didn't use my wheelchair. In between I connected with an NGO in Ahmadabad and Dipali, a woman who also had Polio in both of her legs. She lived 25 kilometers away from Ahmadabad. I spoke with her parents on phone, and decided to meet her. Both of us liked each other. After her family visited my home, our families were satisfied with each other and we were married within six months.   

Today, we are living a successful married life with two cute boys. One child is ten years old and the other is six years old. Both of our children are normal. I have a plan for buying diamonds from Surat and want to grow my business. After seven years living in Ahmadabad, we moved and settled in Surat. My firm's name is "Shashwat Gems". Today, I am a buyer and supplier of cut and polished diamonds. I've been supplying diamonds to jewelry manufacturing companies for the last five years without any marketing. My office is on the second floor and I go to the office everyday from 10am to 8pm by my vehicle, which is a disability friendly car. I have three staff members in my office who are very supportive. I complete each and every duty, and do my work with honestly.   

We are currently going to start one web portal GGDA (Global group for differently abled). Its' main aim will be to encourage and motivate people with disabilities and their parents. In this web portal useful information will be posted, which will be very useful for people with disabilities. After all the odds in my life, I never lose hope and continue my to tackle my life struggles with confidence. According to my point of view, disabilities are not a curse and people with disabilities have more strength and power. They can put in their best efforts with hard work. My message to everyone is to never underestimate the physically disabled person’s ability and always try to help them in many ways because they also have equal rights for living their lives. One more important message to my friends with disabilities is don’t try to hide your internal strength and start believing that God gave you some abilities and you can win. It's time to prove yourself and not regret your physical condition. We are all here for a special reason, don't be a helpless person and become the architect of your future. Always keep in mind “I have not been handicapped by my condition. I’m physically challenged and differently abled.” I’m very thankful to my parents, colleagues and friends who always encouraged and supported me on my life path.

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