DREAMS OF STEEL!
T he best part about dreaming is that it is unconditional. Every human being irrespective of color, creed, and gender is blessed with the ability to chase their dreams and fulfill their aspirations. How wonderful it is that almighty has imparted us this ability without any bias. Still, dreamers often have to cross certain manmade barriers. The ruthless human society often disallows weaker gender, physically disabled, economically downtrodden and mentally/emotionally challenged co-inhabitants of the world to dream and leaves no stones unturned in hindering the realization of these dreamers and aspires. Some fall prey to these obstacles others defy them and tediously work towards them. Sujata Goenka shares with our readers real accounts of two such dream crusaders. I, Arushi Gambhir, was diagnosed with meningomyelocele (neural tube defect) and hydrocephalus (fluid accumulation in the brain) at birth because of which I underwent several brain and spine surgeries along with few orthopedic procedures leaving me wheelchair bound for the past 16 years. The hardships of the sufferer and their immediate family dealing with such lifelong physical disabilities are impossible to fathom. Primarily because they lack hope, hope that things will be better someday. For some of us, leading a normal day to day life is an unfulfilled dream at times and accomplishing this menial dream is no mean feat. For me the ability to receive good education and becoming self-reliant was one such dream. Getting to a good school was yet another challenge but I was lucky to be accepted by The Pinnacle School (My primary school) which nurtured me and helped me realize my full potential. Every single day was a challenge. We always needed a ground floor house with good parking space so that I could move in and out for going to school and therapies as apartments with lifts were generally not available or beyond our reach. Also, I needed a ground floor classroom where my school extended support beyond its capacity. My parents were heavily dependent on domestic helps for every little thing. They made sure I was well assisted during school hours as well. I attended regular schools since I was 4 years old. We were constantly under the fear, thinking of the reliability of the helps. I had to become self-reliant, this constant dependence and fear of the unforeseen fueled my grit unfailingly over the years. Helps would constantly threaten us to leave because they knew that if they left I would not be able to go to school. They saw it as the biggest opportunity to negotiate and demand hefty sums. My parents bore it all. This day to day struggle brought me face to face with the stark reality of the world. Empathy, sensitivity and humanity are not everyone's cup of tea. Still there were a few blessed souls who stepped out of their comfort zones to make me realize my dream. I am forever indebted to those students, teachers and my honorable principal ma'am for being a strong pillar of support at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, New Delhi. It is because of them that my dream to work towards professional education will surely be realized someday for sure. Though, I am still work in progress. I have always been interested in the field of nutrition. I want to become a nutritionist in future and I believe that with hard work I can accomplish this. Grit, dedication and hard work are the most important ingredients for realization of one's dreams, big or small! I, Sudha came from economically downtrodden section of the society and resided in a village near Delhi. While I stayed at home my brothers went to school, as per the social norms. After all, my brothers would be the earning members of the family later in life while I would be married off to another family so why invest in my education? My parents were saving money for my wedding which would be utilized for clothes and jewelry. The thought of marriage never attracted me and yet I was married off at a tender age of 17. Soon I was blessed with a baby girl and two years later with another girl child. Consequently I never got a chance to even speak about my dream of becoming a teacher. Like my father, my husband too was of the view that it was better to keep the girls at home rather than sending them to school for education. I finally spoke as I did not want my daughters to meet the same fate as I did. I now dreamt of educating my daughters all the time. I faced stiff opposition and economics was the only stated reason for denying my girls a chance to gain education. I came to know about Eco- friendly India -EFI through a friend. They were distributing sewing machines, threads and fabric and all what I would have to do was stitch cloth bags. I readily grabbed this opportunity and knew that this extra income will ensure my daughters' education. Finally, my husband allowed me to explore this new venture as it would bring money into the household. Today I am fulfilling my dream of educating my daughters. Hopefully my daughters will become teachers someday!