No person is born in this world with perfection. We all lack in some way or the other. That is the way Our Creator molded us with imperfections that we need to overcome and live it through our journey of life. Keeping this in mind one must understand that the differently abled people are not a burden to society or need your empathy. But they are a God-sent with special abilities and know to live a life fulfilling and integrate themselves well into the society.
The story of Vinita Bicholkar is somewhat similar to this. Vinita achieved remarkable success in her academics despite being afflicted by a rare muscular disorder called Cerebral Palsy. Vinita is among one of the more determined people I have met and is truly a trendsetter who has accomplished her goals by challenging her disability. Vinita presently pursuing her higher education at MES College, Vasco da Gama, was born with the rare muscular disorder due to which her body movement was restricted to quite an extent and she needed the help of her parents to perform every task which requires physical movement.
According to Vinita, her parents faced a lot of difficulties due to her prevailing condition. “It was very difficult for my parents, as they used to pick me up and drop me off to school. And especially taking care of me when I was small, it was slightly more difficult as back then as I would not know what was happening,” says Vinita.
Life may not be fair to her as she had to face a lot of difficulties in the so-called educated society. In spite of having a sound education, many of us show disregard with those having restricted abilities. “To tell you honestly, I did face that situation many times but I have never given it much importance to it because it would never affect me. It would never matter even if anyone made me feel so. There have also been other people who have been more supportive, especially my teachers and even fellow classmates, with even the support staff always helpful,” said Vinita.
Vinita further revealed that when she enrolled into college after completing her HSSC, she had to face a few difficulties, to begin with, which soon became manageable. “Initially when I was new, it was slightly difficult for me, but when the people at college came to know about my case that I could not walk, they helped me a lot. The students would take me in the hall if there were any programs. So it has never been a big problem for me that way,” she admitted
Vinita further stated that she has been doing physiotherapy and exercises to improve her condition and it has helped her to quite an extent. But due to academic workload, she was unable to continue doing so. “Recently, I have reduced my exercises due to the fact that I have been giving my entire time for studies. I was operated recently after which my muscles were loosened up as they became tight because of less exercise, so in a way it is getting difficult for me. I do realize I have to put in more time and effort for my physical activity, but now since the academic year of my college has begun I do not get much time and whatever time I get goes into studies,” she narrated.
Vinita has always been bright in her studies, and testimony to that fact is her result sheets which mark her scoring over 80 per cent when in school and higher secondary. Unassuming as she is, she never boasted of her success. When this writer, asked her about the incredible academic success she achieved in her SSCE and HSCE Board exams, she was humble about it. “I do not feel I have done something very special but I have tried my best,” she simply stated.
“I can say that I was good, but there are other students who were definitely better and their IQ level was even higher. So this way I used to feel that I was not up to that level though I believe I was doing good in studies overall. I used to feel that I got a less percentage in spite of getting 83% in SSCE. Then, later on, I would go on to get 83% in the HSSC Board too,” she remarked.
Vinita is aspiring to become an IAS officer or a lawyer, and after finishing her graduation she will be going to join either of the streams. But according to Vinita, all her plans are completely dependent on her father as he is her major support system.
“Yes, it is true to that I wish to become an IAS officer or a lawyer. But my career depends on my father. In the past, it so happened that I had to miss my classes in the 11th and 12th Standard as my father was posted for his duty at BRICS. But still, I would cope up with my studies at home. The reason I would depend on my parents is that they would pick me up and drop me off to my classes and there was nobody else to take care of me,” she explained.
The fact lies that to become an IAS officer or joining Law college will not be as difficult for Vinita as compared to a number of challenges she will have to face later. The career of an IAS officer or a lawyer demands a lot of physical movements and Vinita needs to get prepared for it. When asked what plans she has to make herself independent she stated “I realize that I need to be an independent person and also learn do things on my own so I can save time and dedicate it to my career. Taking care of myself, which is currently done by my family and friends is what I need to do which currently I am unable to on my own.”
Vinita is fortunate that most of her colleagues in college have progressed with her from school and higher secondary. As such, she does not have an issue of interaction as most of the students are aware of her existing condition. “It feels very nice in college, and I am very glad as most of my classmates and colleagues at MES college are from St. Andrews and St. Therese’s High School. My college teachers are also very supportive and they encourage the students to interact with me,” she happily said.
“Usually we hear that college life is only based on lectures and that the teachers do not interact much. But here it is completely different. The teachers wanted me to learn to interact with people. But since I am in a wheelchair most of the time, I miss out on certain activities as a sport with the other students. At times, I do wish I could be like students, but I never regret what life is to offer. In my opinion, everyone should look at the positive aspect of our lives and not on the negative. Taking life progressively is what keeps me going,” disclosed Vinita.
Just like all of us, Vinita also has many hobbies and among her favorites is reading. Fiction and non –fiction book reading keeps her occupied mostly when she has nothing much to do. “I am an avid reader and I love to read books and novels. One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat is one of my recent reads. I also like to listen to a music that makes me feel good. I also spend my time in prayers. Watching TV is also a hobby,” said Vinita.
Vinita has gone through lots of difficulties in life and is dealing with it well while meeting with successes along the way. She is still very young and has a long way to go. Vinita has shared her experience with Incredible Goa so that it helps to reach out to others with similar conditions. Her inspirational story she hopes will become a torch in the dark for those people who feel that there is no future.
“One should never give up. They ought to make the best use of what they have or learn to make the best of it. There are people who will discourage you and try to put you down, but never waste your time on them and always make the use of the criticism for a positive impact. Learn to not care for those who just criticize you and put you down. If you have a faith in God, yourself and your parents, it can become your actual strength. In life, some will support you and some will not, so neglect that negativity and focus on the positivity. A positive environment should always be positive. Parents should always support their kids and whatever you do focus on it. Do your best and leave the rest up to God, “a philosophical Vinita stated.
Vinita is a very spirited girl who despite being as young as she is has a sense of responsibility. In today’s youth, this is what is found wanting. She is an example on how we can make the most of what life has to offer as the gift of life itself is rewarding. She exemplifies the courage that one needs to appreciate the gift of life and take the difficulties on the chin as we tread through the journey called life.