Well, this is not a medical accessory that you even imagine before the need arises. And when it does, it’s not easy initially! I take this piece of article to narrate not a hapless but an awe-inspiring story of my best friend. It was our graduation day and we decided to hang out till late in the night.

It was almost midnight when we drove back home. I dropped my friend, Jessica, and as I was about to leave, a land rover barged into her. She fell sideways with no other injuries on her except that her legs were smashed by those giant wheels. It was known later that it wasn’t the fault of the driver but unfortunately his car’s brakes had failed.

We rushed her to the nearby hospital within minutes, however, to my greatest misfortune, the attending doctor informed that my friend’s legs had to be amputated.

Life begins in a wheelchair…

Once the agonizing days in the hospital were over, she did come to terms of her new life in a wheelchair; without the hope of ever walking again. She used to dream of taking up dance as her profession and with passing days, she started connecting with people sharing similar interests.

Consequent to all of it, today, Jessica works with a group of 6 women who have taken up dancing in a wheelchair as their profession. When I say ‘work’ you can guess that this is an organization with other jobs as well.

Here is an account of what I realized after being with Jessica for so many years…

The same incidents in life have two opposite faces – one positive and one negative

Once we attended a meeting and our host greeted us with the words… “please have a seat”. That very instant I felt embarrassed and heavy-hearted for my friend. She, on the other hand, wittingly replied, “I’m privileged to have a seat permanently booked for me wherever I go”! I was amazed to find her positive attitude radiating through her small frame.

When we later came out of that place my friend said that she was indeed elated to find someone who saw her as an individual and not “an individual in a wheelchair”!

Have sympathy for your fellow beings…do not show them

Days, when Jessica, used to be treated differently with either special care or no attention at all, were the worse. Such days were not rare, but she gradually tried to accustom herself to all of that and not exhibit the frustration on her face. The usual day-to-day conversations, work planning, hanging out with friends, etc. would keep her much light-hearted.

Of all the things I have seen and felt (being with Jessica), few of the incidents have been very heartrending at times. There are certain worries that keep vexing her always. Should I visit that friend’s house (whether that building is accessible for her)? Does that hotel room have a low-fitted mirror? Does the wheelchair ramp of this public vehicle work properly? Will I be allowed to park my wheelchair? Will the pedestrians notice me? Should I risk traveling alone? What if a place has steep slopes?

Yes, a person in the wheelchair must deal with all of it. With the passage of time, even though one can overcome these issues (partially, if not fully), the society, government planners as well as construction companies, must be sensitive to their needs!