This is the story of Dhruv Batra who at the age of 17 met with an accident, picked himself up and is inspiring many others in life. It is the story of a determined soul and equally determined parents who haven’t given up for odds met in life.
Dhruv shares with Mums and stories, “I was brought up in a small industrial town where I always used to dream big. Although I was just an above average student in studies, I was the local hero due to my proficiency in extra-curricular activities like dancing, acting, music and sports. Like a typical teenager, I loved my bike over anything else. I wanted to travel the world and lead a life full of adventures and stories.
When the accident tool place, I was broken mentally, physically and emotionally. That was a second birth for me. So of course, after birth you need to start from the basics. I had to learn to sit straight, to crawl and to do things on my own. I learnt how to stand on a single leg, how to move around with crutches, and got a prosthetic limb which helped me slowly to regain control over myself.
But I wondered how I would fulfill my dream of traveling the world and living an adventurous life with these confining legs. The baseline, I realized, was that I would have to get rid of that old Dhruv and learn to embrace a new Dhruv. I tried to keep myself boosted by convincing myself to take this new life as a challenge. At the end of the day, it was my choice whether to lie on the bed or prove my mettle by showing everyone that my spirit was unbreakable. I opted for the second choice.”
Recalling the incident he shares, “On the way to my coaching class one fine summer afternoon in June 2010, a blind turn changed the course of my entire life. It was four days after my 17th birthday and there I was, lying on the road with my leg crushed between the fuel tank of my beloved bike and a van. Post my amputation, I being a hard task-master, asked the doctor the plan of action. The doctor asked me” Don’t you know what has happened to your leg?” When I replied in negative, he reminded me that my leg would not be able to support me anymore. At that point in time, I didn’t know what to expect, but this was something that I had never thought of.
As I asked the doctor to call my parents inside the room, I hardened myself so that I do not shed a tear in front of the people who were more shattered than I was, for whom I was the sole strength. I wondered who would support them if I break down.
I recall those five minutes with my parents as the toughest 5 minutes of my life. To control your tears in front of those mom dad, whose one and only son is lying there on the bed, a son who was now deprived of leading a normal life, “a physically challenged”- this is the most difficult task.
Recalling the horrific accident, Dhruv’s mother Sandhya shares, “ We came to terms slowly with the accident following which we had our prayers and we had to face the rude reality of amputation. Tears just rolled down when doctor said no chance of revival of leg and life cannot be put to danger. I had only questions in mind were – How to face him? How to console and support him? How a 17 year who had very high aspirations to become an actor, travel around the world and always ready to accept new challenges will react to such a situation? We didn’t have the courage to face him.
With broken heart, when we entered the ICU he had smile on his face, we also smiled. We knew that behind the smiles were the broken At that moment just wanted to see him and talk to him.
We hardened ourselves and decided that we will never make him feel let down in any situation. Now our aim of the life was to support him, boost him and drive him to achieve his ambitions.
It was a new beginning for him. The journey started with walking on a walker, crutches and then prosthetic limb. Learning to walk with hand in hand in freezing cold was very tough for him. Every other day was full of challenges and new experiences. The support of friends and family helped to conquer the challenges.
Once the objective was clear, all energies were put together to make Dhruv ‘a shining star’ as he always used to say when he was a kid.”
Dhruv admits, “Dealing with this situation has also made me value my life and health. The common person does not take enough care of his body and fitness, not realizing that human life is the biggest gift of God. Over the time, I have worked on my fitness level, stamina, agility and strength.
There is a prevalent notion that the Indian society looks down upon the physically disabled. However, this is contrary to my experience where people have always supported me and motivated me to do even better. On my countless treks and swimming events, I have always received a lot of respect and love from people, and some people have gone out of their way to help me feel comfortable. There is a tendency among some people to show pity to the physically disabled, and I am working with my NGO “One Step at a time” to make people understand that we need is empathy, and not pity.
Recently as I completed a 2K Open Sea Swimathon and was running towards the stand, I heard someone say “Some people are born heroes”. Such words are priceless.
If I have to be honest, I did at one point feel hopeless – I was broken, and I thought my life has reached its end. I didn’t even think of going to some university. It was something like bitter. After months of brooding I still had the choice- being bitter or better? I chose BETTER!! There would be something called destiny. But I truly believe, the last control is always in our hands.
I want to travel, have a life full of stories and adventures, be a good son to my parents, have a family, a successful professional life and own a house with a swimming pool in it. I want to party and I want to dance a lot. I want to live my life to the fullest. I have a childhood dream to cross the English Channel. Hope I can live my dream someday and represent India in Para-swimming. I want to help people through my journey and be source of smile for everyone. I want to learn, I want to cry, I want to swim and I want to fly. At the end, I want to TRY.”
Mums and Stories thanks Dhruv for sharing this beautiful story of inspiration with us. We hope his intent and desire to TRY will influence others too in a positive way. We also find his parents, his mother and dad equally inspiring who have encouraged their son to face life as it has chalked out the path for them.
Lead Picture credit- Mohammed Rafi