Volume 1 Issue 7 - December 01, 2003

"Life is a challenge, meet it"

Nazir Kaderbhay has proven that will power and a positive outlook towards life can help overcome even the most daunting of odds.

Picture of Nazir with his synthesizer

Nazir is 23 years old and lives in Bangalore. He has proven that will power and a positive outlook towards life can help overcome even the most daunting of odds.

Q. Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Madagascar and lived there up to the age of 10 years. Then we moved to India. Sports played a big role in my life, as I used to be a gymnast and played tennis as well. I was into games and sports all through my school days. My first love was outdoors.

As I was the first boy in the family after two sisters, I was petted by all. With all my wishes fulfilled and tantrums excused, I never knew the value of things and took relationships for granted Gymnastics was the only thing that I took up seriously and it did give me enough laurel. I got involved in gymnastics when I was 12 years old and was involved with it for seven years. In fact, I retired from gymnastics about five years ago and still love the sport. Sport has taught me much more besides gymnastics; it also taught me to work hard and persevere, no matter what.

Q. How did you meet with the accident that changed your life?
I had no idea how bad things could get and I was about to find out that my life would never be the same. From April 17, 1998, my life changed completely. During a practise session, I lost my concentration. I fell from a height of about 6 feet, on my neck, and immediately my whole body became immobile. I could only move my eyes (not my head) and breathe only a little. I became totally paralyzed (Quadraplegia) from the neck down within less than an hour. I just couldn't move myself.

Q. How did you cope, mentally and physically, with such a tragedy?
This condition remained for four months. Lying in the intensive care unit, I could just look at the tiles of the roof; I couldn't fall asleep. Two holes were drilled into my head and a traction weight was tied to it so that my head did not move even by chance. I could swallow some fluids only with great difficulty. This phase of life was a test for me. I was injured physically but I had to keep my mind intact. With no movement, sound or activity around me, it became difficult for me to pass each second. I stretched my imagination in every direction. I relived every moment since my childhood, went through everything that was in my mind. Sometimes time hung very heavy on my hands, but I managed with all these memories.

A new battle began the day I was in my wheelchair.

Q. Your family has been a source of great strength, hasn't it?
Today I manage with the help of my family members - they have been a great, great support to me. The one sure thing is that I have able to reach this stage only because of my mother, Bilkis Banu. She is very strong and has always encouraged me in whatever I do. I would say that if she hadn't been with me then God knows where I would have been! I'm very proud of my family and, to tell you the truth, my family is my backbone.

Q. What is your message to other disabled people who may be battling the same kind of despairing circumstances that you did?
I've never lost hope and I still believe that, one day, I will be normal again! In the meantime, I'm trying to do the maximum I can to make my life as normal as possible. I just don't see any point in sitting around the whole day and mourning. I could hardly move my hands but today due to my adamancy, I'm able to make the best use of it. This attitude of mine would carry me a long way and I hope it inspires many others. I also have the will to work and I would be very much thankful to those who'd give me the opportunity to show my talent (I basically like communicating with people).

It is almost five years since that fateful day and I have learnt many things in life but there are many more things for me to learn. I love working on the computer; I have learnt HTML and have undergone a course on Web designing. Not only that, I have my own personal home page on the net and am currently updating my site. I have picked up many things after working in an IT-based company, Mahiti Infotech. My day involves meticulous planning, lots of exercise and of course entertainment.

What have I learnt and gained from this 'episode' in life? I have learnt to respect life whether I'm able or disabled. I feel this is the life to lead because I now realise what difficulties are. We don't realise the value of life; it's only when we tend to lose it that we know how important it is.

I have gained respect for my life.

I always say that:
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a sacrifice, offer it.
And finally, life is love, enjoy it.

I am not going without having my share of it.

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