Compiled by Sudha Menon and V.R. Ferose. Grade: A
‘Gifted’ is not just a book with 250 odd pages; rather it’s a journey traversed by several brave hearts as they seek out to challenge the darkness that threatens to envelop their lives, teaching the world that light is just around the corner, and it’s only a matter of time when the full rays of dawn would shower upon you, eradicating all troubles and providing a new lease of hopes and promises.
While the rest of the world has taken great strides in mainstreaming the differently abled into the larger contours of their society, life continues to be an uphill struggle for the differently-abled in India. They continue to be burdened with their ‘handicapped’ status and live a life on the fringes, largely forgotten by a society which is galloping ahead at a fast pace. Born ‘different’ from the rest of us, they have been put in a position of disadvantage in a world where being ‘normal’ is at such a premium.
Gifted celebrates the journeys of these very Indians who are neither CEOs nor part of any influential power clubs, but special in their own way. These are stories that can inspire even the most ‘abled’ among us.
The book is authored by V R Ferose, father of a 3year old autistic son and Managaing Director, SAP Labs. Also co-authored by Sudha Menon, author of bestselling titles Leading Ladies and Legacy: Letters from eminent parents to their daughters.
Life is never easy with all the hurdles in place. True. Life may not go on in the way you want it to. Agreed. But then again, have there not been winners among us, who have leaped ahead of these problems, boldly, defiantly, rising to the stature of champions, inspiring us and everyone else to follow their grit and determination and achieve what we want to?
Things may be difficult at times, but never impossible.
Sudha Menon and V.R.Ferose come forth with 15 beautiful and inspiring tales of people who have challenged their status of being ‘differently-abled’ and have made a mark by achieving feats that a so-called normal person too would struggle to accomplish. These fifteen souls, due to various circumstances, have been confined to lives where they are not able to make full use of their bodies. However, this shortcoming has made them all the more resolute, and their indomitable mental strength have come to the fore, proving that they can do anything that they dream of.
What else can you say of stalwarts like Aisha Chaudhury, an ordinary teenager, who has developed Pulmonary Fibrosis and has to carry a portable oxygen concentrator everywhere, and yet talks of living in the present and being happy, even though she has to struggle for every breath that she has to take, or for that matter, Ankit Jindal, who lost his vision before the age of 12, seeing his world rapidly growing dark, and yet not losing hopes against adversities? Do you know that Dr. S. H. Advani, the father of bone marrow transplant in India is wheelchair bound, and yet, performs his duties and takes cares of his patients devotedly? Sunil Desai had a brilliant future as the area sales manager of an electronic goods company, before an accident confined him to a wheel chair for life, rendering him quadriplegic. That didn’t stop him from starting Care-Taker, a helping institute, and other such initiatives to help those in need. Ritwick and Roshan Rajan, two brothers who are born blind, have managed to leave a deep impression due to their amazing musical talents.
We come to know more about these people, their lives and struggles and how they turned victorious in their personal battles, paving the paths for others. Most of the time, a person who is differently abled has to face unfair circumstances due to the society’s outlook towards them. It is perceived that their supposed handicap will hinder their progress in several activities, and thus they lose out on opportunities. However, as these heroes narrate their stories, we realize that they can perform and excel despite all these difficulties.
‘Gifted’ is an inspiration to all of us, who have often felt bogged down when times seem hard, and resort to complaining. We should learn to have a positive mind-set, and fight against all negativity creeping within us. ‘Gifted’ is a lesson to the society, of living together in humility and care, and making the most of what we have, instead of cribbing about what we don’t.