Deepa Malik: Will on wheels

Even though rain followed them from Udaipur to Jaipur, with the wiper movement being a distraction, Jaipur absolved them of all their discomforts. “I was most touched when Mr. Birju Singhji, a 77-yr-old biker, came to flag me off and gave me a full, two-step salute, ‘fauji-style’,” Deepa recounts. What was more; Birju Singh even led her out of Jaipur towards Delhi on his World War II BSA motorcycle with a WWII helmet on. And with Deepa’s special attachment to biking, it moved her deeply. Band-baaja, dhol, a carpet of roses and gulab jamuns may have marked an end to Deepa’s successful record but it made way for the beginning of a new year for Deepa.

It was heart warming to see Deepa get support and backing from a lot of women, especially with her creating a niche for herself in a male-dominated field. Among the things that made this journey the most memorable for Deepa was meeting two of her friends and paraplegic swimmers – Raghavendra Amvekar and Rajesh Shinde in Belgaum. There she also met another swimmer, ‘Wonder Boy’ – a boy with no hands or legs, just a very big head supported by a very small torso. “Here I found my sources of energy that edged me to go on. I couldn’t have asked for better representation to support the cause that was so close to my heart,” she says with a satisfied expression on her face. For all those people who think Indians aren’t sensitive towards physically challenged people, here’s a drive, to change.

(The six students who initiated this project and made it a success - Bikash jyoti Biswas, Anchal Kumar Barman, Sarabhjit Mundae, Dinesh Chandar, Atish Ranjan and Pratik Somani)

(Words: Shruti Nagbhushan)