“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”- Robert Frost
Fate and luck are often the things that we relate with the opportunities which are presented to us by life. Sometimes, when we are unable to succeed in a specific venture, we choose to blame our destiny irrespective of the quality of hard work that we had put into it. What if someone tells you about the existence of a person, who has been able to complete not just his bachelors but masters as well and is now currently working at a popular place that too all the work being done by him with the help of his toes! Surprise and shock are the only two emotions that will hit your heart after knowing one such story. Inspiration, motivation and admiration will follow, once the story is complete.
Sidharth Taneja, who currently works as the android developer at MakeMyTrip.com, didn’t make it that easily there as it seems to be. Being a patient of Cerebral Palsy since birth, a disease in which certain parts of the brain which control the movement of the body, its balance and posture, do not develop, Sidharth, along with the support of his parents, was stubborn enough to clear the first step in his life to reach to the ultimate goal of being successful- education. Considering problem to be like a synonym of life, he feels that obstacles have been a part of his life throughout. Whether it was trying to get admission at a school, despite the several number of schools clearly saying a no, or whether it was getting the chance to pursue his masters later on in life or whether it was finally getting his job application accepted life was never really easy for him.
He knew that problems won’t be ending any time soon; however what will be common to all the problems would be the existence of a solution. It did not take him long before he saw through the common mistake which we all make- find a source of help first and then take the step towards our dreams. Sidharth knew for a fact, that dreams could be achieved only if we had enough courage to take the initiative first and then look for help in every corner. Unless, we are not willing to take the first step, the miracle of someone coming forward to help us would not take place. Until we show our potential to the world, the world would not come forward to help us improve on it.
Thus, the patient of cerebral palsy, who was initially rejected by several institutions to provide him with education, finally completed his bachelors as well as masters through IGNOU without any kind of help from any coaching institute.
He believes that we should not keep on venturing on the same path shown to us by the world, but should take the risk of exploring a new path as well. Also, according to him, we should not take the grey matter of our brain to be for granted, as when put to use, it can cause a change in the society which the world requires.
Acknowledging the importance of family support in one’s life, he considers his parents to be the most important pillars of strength in his life, which have helped and inspired him in a huge amount. For him, the society proved to be a helping hand by challenging his capabilities and his potential. That’s when he decided to give an answer to all those who thought that he could not do certain things, through his actions, which conveyed to the society how wrong they were in their presumptions.
His ambitions do not include materialism of this world, but are much more on the philosophical side. He wants to simply bring a change in this world through his work, which he wishes to be remembered even long after he dies. Although, he has been successful by taking the first step towards fulfilling this dream, of choosing a road which many do not have the courage to, he still is trying to achieve exclusivity in his actions.
Sidharth, sees no need to categorize the people under categories of being normal or specially abled. He believes that we all are the same and if there is any such difference in us, then God has already taken care of it. Also, what matters is not whether specially abled people are referred to as ‘Divyang’ or ‘viklang’, but whether the Government is able to make the lives of them better through their various initiatives and provide them with enough opportunities as well as facilities, as he says,” There is no point in getting the title of genius and spending whole life in darkness of room.”
What disappoints him though is the way society looks at specially abled people. Instead of empathizing with them, they sympathize and fail to realize that disability is not a problem but a mere difference amongst people. What the society should focus on is providing the differently abled people with more facilities and accessibilities so that even they can lead their lives just as the others.
Believing that life has several experiences stored for us which are present only in paths that have not been explored till now, he states the mantra of his life to be-
‘Create new dreams, chase them, live them and repeat this cycle.’
Identifying stubbornness as his strength, he urges others to be passionate and stubborn about their dreams. This way they will find experiences to share with others instead of accidents to crib about later.
If someone feels that disability can be an obstacle in achieving one’s goals then Sidharth’s words are what they need to listen to- “Go and fight for your life. And one thing which I want to add for so called “normal people” is that you all will face disability in the form of autumn, so be sure when you face it you say that I did something fruitful for this condition.”
Do not let your dreams die only because you feel that you have not got what it takes to achieve them. Problems are a part of everyone’s life and it is we who decide how to judge our problems. Solutions exist but we need to take an initiative to find them. Quitting was never a solution, however trying always will be. If Sidharth Taneja, can fulfill all his dreams literally with his toes, then what is stopping you!