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Our attitude makes all the difference - My Take by Varun Khullar, India's first disabled DJ

October 26, 2017

On My Take this week, India's first disabled DJ, Varun Khullar, popularly known as DJ Aamish, talks to Newz Hook.

Three years ago I met with a road accident that left me with a spinal cord injury and a permanent disability. Doctors told me that I would never be able to walk or sit, and would be bedridden and dependent for the rest of my life.

Never walk again

I was 23 years old at the time and there was no way that I was ready to accept this. I thought, 'who are these people to tell me how I was going to live my life?' I did not like the fact that doctors were so hopeless and demoralizing when they should be encouraging people to do physiotherapy and recover strength.

I was determined to walk again with the help of a walker. They told me that I wouldn't be able to sit, but I drive today. I did that by motivating myself. I told myself that I have to recover and take care of my mom. I cracked jokes and made sure I did not sink into depression.

After leaving hospital, I started physiotherapy and made plans for the future. My childhood dream was to be a DJ and I saw this moment as an opportunity to pursue that seriously. I wanted to make that dream come true and that pushed me.

I was concerned about whether people would accept a DJ who is on a wheelchair because DJs usually dance. I was still dependent on people to pull me up, put me on a wheelchair and I hated that. So as I regained strength with physiotherapy, I started doing one thing after the other like learning how to drive, or doing an online course from the London University.

Chasing a childhood dream

Soon I was ready to start making things happen for myself. I had songs that I had produced and was ready to show people. I went to many institutes to train to be a DJ but some turned me down saying how can you do this. I finally found an institute that was willing to teach me.

People often think that because of my disability I got things easy but I had to work hard like everyone else. I looked for work for nearly eight months because most places are not accessible. After almost six months of running around, I was given an opportunity at Kitty Su, one of Delhi's top clubs.

I have met people in wheelchairs who stay home and don't come out. That has to change.

One of the reasons why people look at us with sympathy is because we are not visible. We have to come forward and take our place in the world. When people stare at you, stare right back to them. It is our attitude that makes all the difference.

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