Get-hooked December 8, 2020
Power of words & creative ideas help writer Vijay Kumar Nair rise above the challenges of disability
36-year-old Vijay Kumar Nair was serving in the Indian navy when he met with an accident which left him a paraplegic with speech impairment. A blog writer who hopes to write a book too, Vijay talks about life and literature in ‘My Take’.
I was born and brought up in Mumbai in a middle-class family. I was an introvert, but contemplative by nature. At school I managed to score above average grades and always had an inclination for English language and creative writing.
I joined the Indian Navy through technical officers’ entry after my higher secondary. In fact, I was persuaded by the charm of being in the uniform and had a zest for serving in the armed forces. After completing naval officer’s training and a graduation in Electrical Engineering, I commenced my service as a young Lieutenant.
An accident that changed life
31 May 2009 altered the course of my life. I was travelling outside my naval base in Jamnagar, Gujarat on my motorbike for some official work. A vehicle driven by someone who flouted traffic rules collided with my bike, sending me veering across the median.
I had a brain and spine surgery and was unconscious for a long time. After my vitals stabilized, I was airlifted to the military hospital in Pune where I regained my senses in a couple of weeks. But I had no memory to why I was there on the hospital bed. I couldn’t feel or move anything below my chest. Barring that, I had full memory of everything else.
I felt empowered to see my resolute mother by my side. My father had succumbed to cancer a few years back. So over next few weeks, I learnt that I had sustained a spinal cord injury and a severe head injury too. The helmet could only save my skull from being completely shattered but couldn’t prevent a brain injury nevertheless. So now I’am a paraplegic with severe dysarthria or slurry speech.
Getting back to life
When a promising career of selfless service as a technical officer in the Indian navy was cut short by a near fatal road accident that rendered half of my body dysfunctional and speech impaired, there were enough reasons to slip into the abyss of despondency.
But I was empowered by a resolute mother. She stood by me every minute. An indomitable spirit, effective treatment and rehabilitation provided by the armed forces is what led me to identify my strengths over debilities.
I spent a couple of years in the military hospital, rehabilitating myself to make the best use of my abilities.
There is a fair deal of difference between being disabled by birth and contracting a disability midlife. But I realised that it is just a matter of time and acceptance that put you back on track. After completing my rehabilitation, as mine was a permanent disability, I was physically unfit to continue my naval service. So I was relieved with all service benefits.
I returned to my hometown in Kochi with my mother and began putting together my life from scratch. I soon realised how far we as a society had to progress for becoming an inclusive one. With a loco motor and speech disability, my options in fields of my interest had dwindled. So I decided to employ the power of language and internet to my benefit.
Tryst with writing
I started off by writing content for an e-commerce website. But after a few similar content writing assignments, I realised that all I was doing with my writings was selling wares and making profits for someone. I wanted to serve a higher purpose and greater good through my writings. So I started penning positive thoughts and poetry with subtle philosophical messages through my blogs.
I got interested in Indian knowledge traditions particularly texts related to the Vedas. This interest got me associated with Chinmaya International Foundation founded by Swami Chinmayananda. I’am currently with the foundation as a content writer and a web sewak.
Physical disabilities can limit and bind me in the physical world. But in the world of creative expression, each one of us are unfettered and free. I plan to continue creating meaningful written content that will benefit every reader. I wish to become a published writer sometime in the near future.
“Success in anything you undertake is just a consequence of sustained, focussed and passionate efforts in the direction of your goal”.
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