An entire day at BIL “Un-conference”, Chennai. Many interesting moments. One life-changing one. To me, speakers are maze-makers. They draw you into unknown territory and dynamically gauging your interest, guide you through the intricacies of their experiences. End-result – a satisfying mental workout. There are always other case-points as in “lost in the maze”, “too simple a maze”, “too convoluted a maze” and “don’t want to be in this maze” scenarios. Luckily, most of the mazes here were on the bright end of the spectrum and here’s one such that impacted like a meaningful meteorite on my conscience!
In the course of our lives, haven’t we all whined about being “too fat”, “too thin”, “too fair”, “too dark”, “long nosed”, “stub nosed”, “small eyed”, “huge eyed”, and worse still , moaned about microscopic matters such as “my left foot is slighter larger than my right foot”, “I have elephant ears”, “my eyelashes are so small” and perpetually compared ourselves against our parents, siblings, neighbors, friends and film-stars! Hold that thought for a moment and look at this guy moving onto the dias, his arms flying out in all directions, his legs stumbling on themselves, his face pulled in different directions at the fate of a cerebral condition. But he walked with aura of confidence that not even a perfectly chiseled modern-day-Apollo has. Meet GJ Siddharth, a differently abled man, deeply “unaffected” by a serious condition called cerebral palsy.
Sid bowled us over by asking us a simple favor – to not to call him challenged. He is not physically challenged, he bravely said. Made me think that the ones who are truly physically challenged are us, the whiners I described above. He shared simple everyday experiences, that we take so much for granted and his momentous task in dealing with the same. A small interlude and his best friend walked on stage and shared nuggets of their friendship, how they have fun in spite of everything and everyone around them. Here’s my salute to this friend! “You are able to see the dynamic, humorous man that is not visible to the common eyes. You brave others’ opinion to be there for him, to give him a chance at normal life. With someone like you to believe and be there, no obstacle is hard crossing.”
At the end of his talk, we all stood there, giving a standing ovation, with tears in some eyes, and a soft glow in most hearts. Made me think of all the moments , I have wasted over inconsequential things; Of the times, when I felt down and depressed for mere trifles. I hope every time a mood swing swings by, my inner voice reminds me of this moment, clapping for this man.
Just here, realized a deep but simple truth about strength and beauty – that being a Goddess Venus/ Venus Williams is more about the contours of the mind rather than the curves of the body!