I believe in competing with myself - My Take by Siddharth Jayakumar, a banker with cerebral palsy

In My Take this week, Siddharth Jayakumar, a senior banker with IndusInd Bank and author of Simply Being Sidds, talks about his journey battling the social stigma surrounding cerebral palsy.

The trigger for my book Simply Being Sidds was a meeting in 2008 with the late President of India Dr Abdul Kalaam when I won the National Award for Best Employee with Cerebral Palsy. I was working with the Royal Bank of Scotland at the time.

Late President Dr Kalaam was the inspiration behind the book

President Kalaam used to quote me in many speeches and he told me, 'Instead of inspiring just me, who don't you inspire others?" He also said that the best way to do that is by writing a book. It all finally came together when a very good friend of mine, Paul Abraham, who is the COO of IndusInd Bank again brought up the idea of a book and pushed me to write one. I finally started writing it in September 2016 and completed in nine months.

Simply Being Sidds portrays growing up with cerebral palsy

My book is all about my journey living with cerebral palsy. I developed CP following an attack of jaundice a few days after birth. The attack affected my physical movements, clarity of speech, and the ability to write. I was diagnosed as mentally retarded by doctors. After staying home until I was eight years old, I joined a special school, where I stayed until I was 15 years old.

I have been through some tough times as a child, and the hardest was shifting to a mainstream school when I was 15 years old. That was no joke. At 15, I had completed most of my childhood and the shift put me under immense emotional pressure, mainly to survive. But I had my support system, my parents, sister, and teachers, who never gave up on me. In fact my teacher, Dipti Bhatia, took care of my educational needs right from class 6 until I completed my post graduation.

With so many people supporting me, I used to feel that I Should not let them down. Especially my mother. She has so much patience. The anger I used to feel, I would take it out on her. The most beautiful part of it was that she handled me better than anyone else.

Its all this love and support from people in my life that led me to decide that I would face whatever hardship came my way. That mindset has got me to where I am today. I don’t believe in competing with others, but only with myself and improving myself.

The book has chapters by people who are part of this journey and what we have faced together. Because of them, I have been able to live a more happy life. Today I am a happy man. I have a wife and a five-year-old son and I am deeply grateful for that.

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