An accident damaged her spinal cord, but couldn’t stop her from reaching IIM Lucknow.

10 October 2016

Someone has rightly said, life is very unpredictable. It never fails to surprise you in its own way, whether pleasant or unpleasant, it unfolds as the time comes.

I experienced such a situation at the age of 21 years, the very next day of returning from a wonderful family trip to South India. I had just completed third year of my civil engineering at that time. What awaited me after that trip was not my normal routine of a student but a wheelchair.

It was 28th June’12 when all of this happened. I met a fatal accident in the parking lot of my coaching center. I was just unlocking my two-wheeler when a glow-sign board of a private college, City College in Gwalior, fell upon me from the 4th floor of a building. I fell on the ground with blood all over.

My friends tried to handle me but when they couldn’t they requested the crowd to help and what response they got was “aap hi uthaao, hum haath nahi lagaenge”. There was a huge crowd at the accident site but not many came forward to help us.

My friends and coaching staff informed my parents and took me to a nearby hospital where after few tests my parents came to know that the accident resulted into a spinal cord injury along with an head injury. The very next day my parents took me to Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Delhi, where doctors declared that my spinal cord had been badly damaged and there were no chances of recovery even after an operation.

This meant that I would not be able to stand on my feet ever again as both of my lower limbs were paralyzed. But the operations were essential to move forward with my rehabilitation. Moreover, it was not the only injury that had happened to me. It was accompanied by head injury and thigh fracture.

I had completely lost balance of my body. My condition was similar to a new born baby who is unable to do anything on its own. I was not even able to sit on my own.

A week after surgeries, my rehabilitation started where I was supposed to learn wheelchair skills to live an independent life. My life had completely changed. I was dependent on others for each and everything. I still remember when after few rehabilitation sessions the first time I managed to sit independently, just for few seconds though, I felt as if I had achieved something very big.

I was struggling each and every day while learning about the complications that had resulted because of spine injury, precautions which I needed to take for whole life from then, how to do basic things of life in all over different manner and most importantly to accept a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

My family also suffered badly because of this accident emotionally as well as financially. My dad was struggling hard for managing funds to get me the best of the best treatment. I was feeling helpless seeing my family in such condition because of me.

Real hardships appeared when I came in contact with the world outside hospital. I was discharged after 4 months and decided to carry on with final year of my engineering. I joined back my college but taking in consideration my physical condition one thing was clear that I could not continue with my then career stream.

Hence a month after I was discharged from hospital I appeared in CAT’12. But the shocking part was the reactions from the people around us who always used to approach me and my parents with views like “Why are you making your daughter appear in job interviews or engineering and competitive exams when you already know she wouldn’t be able to do anything now. Just make her learn some household things that would be better for her. No company is going to appoint her.”

It was then that I realized how people around you change along with your conditions. Just a few months before who all used to say that I was hard-working and a good performer had started considering me useless. These people also included few of my closed ones whom I expected to support me but they didn’t stand by my side when I needed them most.

Facing all the health complications, stringent medical routine, no sign of recovery in lower limbs in 3-4 months, changed behaviour and opinion of people about me and most importantly the sufferings of my family because of my accident were not that easy to handle.

Things were getting depressing and frustrating and at one point even I started doubting my capabilities. After having many sleepless nights I realized that all this was not going to improve the situation at all but would spoil it further. I thought about the people who were doing anything and everything for my happiness, which included obviously my family and friends.

Though few close ones left me in my tough time, but many others whom I didn’t know well or at all earlier came forward to help me. The support of all these people and the trust they showed on me gave me courage to overcome all the negative thoughts and to return to my life confidently and cheerfully. I started taking every negative statement as a challenge and things started working out well.

I cleared CAT’12 examination and got calls from all the 13 IIMs. My family, friends and well-wishers were much happier than I was and all the ones who had considered me useless were speechless. And then there was no looking back.

I completed my engineering in 2013 without any break in studies because of an accident and joined IIM Lucknow, one of the most prestigious B-schools of India, the same year.

Now I am working with Wipro since last one year and financially independent. It’s been 4 years of my injury but I haven’t lost trust in god and hope of recovery. I am managing my job along with daily treatment sessions of 4-5 hours.

Even Paulo Coelho has mentioned in his book, The Alchemist, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. I know it requires lots of hard work and sacrifice but I am ready for it, not only for me but for my closed ones as well who are eagerly waiting to see me back on my feet. But till the time I start walking again my life won’t stop.

– Kirti Saxena


(story by Kirti Saxena)

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