Blade Runner...Survivor...Wonder Woman...Urban Legend...
A few descriptions of me over the last few weeks...well how do I feel about them?
Very overwhelming…Larger than life!!
Did I plan on any of this? The answer is a plain 'No'. If you had asked me 4 years ago or in fact even before that if I’d ever run a marathon…the answer would have been ‘No’.
The whole thing started off with just a way to be healthy and being able to achieve the very mundane tasks of walking, climbing up stairs, sitting and getting up from a chair. Over a period, it just became something I began to enjoy. My legs began to feel like an extension of my own body and not an add on. Just the pure freedom to run, feeling free...and in some twisted way a control over my own body!
What the hell I can't brush my teeth on my own, but I can run without anyone's help!
These are my moments of looking up in the sky, and saying a silent "damn you, there's no stopping me"
And I don’t think I chose running…Running chose ME!
Was it easy?
It was hell! A good hell...
Well the original plan was to run with my legs (for you guys prosthetics legs). We’ve (Coach Aiyappa and I) been training for about two years. I wake up at 5 am and work out at Kanteerava Stadium. I go for Pilates with Anisha Naidu 2-3 times a week. Both their primary goals has been to make my life as miserable and tough as possible (You need to read this as "build strength and endurance). It's been a journey - one that has required me to push myself every single day. Not just my body, but realising that it's my mind that makes me go the last 100 metres.
There were days at 5am in the morning when my alarm rang that I questioned my own sanity "What the hell is wrong with me?" "Do I really need to do this?".... But something did push me! I came everyday from the work out pooped....but also rejuvenated by the sheer sense of accomplishment and feeling that I grew my wings...added a few bones and feathers each day....my wings of freedom!
Then the blades arrived. We went for fitment for about a month, I got the blades about 2 weeks and 2 days before the run.
What do the blades feel like?
Imagine yourself on really pointy high heels and then imagine being on a trampoline...if you are a man who has never worn heels...I cannot explain it to you!
I look and feel totally bad ass in them!
They gave me a natural bounce and push. It gave me more wings.
How did I feel on D-day?
Obviously pressure! I feel exactly like I was going to write my board exams. There were 20k people, the whole place was buzzing with energy.
How I felt through the run?
It was a mixture of emotions – like a Bollywood movie, the day had every bit of excitement, song, dance, music, high emotions, action, love, drama!
Started slow, as it was a mad rush of people and I did not want to fall. The first 6 kms were great, and then I felt dizzy. We were targeting the 90 min finish, the break put me back. At a point I was totally disappointed with myself (still am). We then decided to finish. We had to stop twice again to adjust the legs. It was an extremely humid day, and the prosthetics get extremely sweaty. So once your sweat builds up, the legs get extremely uncomfortable, so we need to remove them and put them back on. Ofcourse our Bangalore roads - just adds to the much needed drama!
The one thing that helped me through this besides having people that I love with me, was the number of people through the run who cheered for me or just passed by with a thumbs up – my running this marathon was a re-affirmation to our own selves that we survive – no matter what!
We finished! Phew! I was done and I just wanted to find a corner to sleep.
By the time I recuperated I felt - Exhilarated. Relieved. Happy. Could I have done better? An emphatic "Yes"!
Post the run I've been repeatedly asked "Why running" "Who is my inspiration" "What motivated me" "What is my future goal"...
When I sit back and think...the answer is "I really don't know"
The script to my life changed in 2012 and after that I have left the universe to take me where it chose. I just do what I do. I do not know where I get my strength from or how I endured it - I just do!
Did I ever plan to run, take part in a marathon or be on the first page of a newspaper? Never ever part of my script... it all just happened! I did not plan on losing my limbs in the first place remember.
Why running... just because i can! I have my wings fitted on and I don't plan to ever take them off.
Motivation... because it is the person I am! I refuse to give up without a fight. It is in my Malayali DNA or I'm just too stubborn probably.
Goal...only one "be happy" “live in the moment” - NOTHING else in the world matters
One thing that's niggled me through this entire process has been a few reactions from people around me "She still has a big smile" "You still look happy" "Did people treat you differently" "Do you feel bad when you go out with your friends"
Why do we expect someone who is disabled to look unhappy? Why do we expect someone who is disabled to lead sad and miserable lives? Why do we not expect someone who is disabled to party? Why do you think a marriage will fall apart after a disability? Why don't we think that it is possible to just accept your disability and lead super normal lives?
Clichés isn't it?
Your disabilities I've realized are only in your mind.