While it is instinctive to give up on your dreams when you're faced with a challenge as difficult as limited mobility, there are a few individuals who do not succumb to any sort of limitations on their dreams despite their inability to even move around independently. I recently had an opportunity to connect with one such person, Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta.
Dasgupta was a brilliant student, but his school life was full of ups and downs. Thankfully, his mother worked as a teacher in the same school. Dasgupta's mother took up teaching even before he was born; however, bearing her son's fragile condition in mind, she decided to work as a teacher in his school. This allowed her to keep an eye on her son while pursuing her passion for teaching.
Dasgupta's parents, Kausik and Shila Dasgupta along with his younger brother Kushal later moved to Anantapur district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where he continued studying through Distance Learning.
Much to Dasgupta's dismay, he had to discontinue studies after completing his intermediate due to his deteriorating health.
But undeterred by his condition, Dasgupta went on to get a Diploma in Computer Science and even complete a graphic designing course. Following years of practice and hard work, he was able to attract an international clientele.
He received the Master Award 2017 from CavinKare and Ability Foundation for his accomplishments in the field of music, graphics designing and motivational speaking.
He also won the All India Wheelchair Wanderlust Competition, last year. He got an accessible trip to Goa, a beach-laden state in western India where he met the State Commissioner for Disabilities in the Government of Goa, Mrs. Anuradha Joshi.
Dasgupta also received the DISHARI AWARD for Best Child Singer back in 1999. He collaborated with singing legends of India including Ajay Chakraborty, Rashid Khan, Anup Jalota, Anuradha Poudwal, and Manna Dey on a few occasions.
He recently received the 13th WE Awards’17 from International Women’s Magazine, WE. The popular magazine recognized Dasgupta as PERSISTENT ENTHUSIAST OF 2017. Dasgupta holds his parents’ unceasing love and efforts responsible for his success.
"In all my success they are the main pillars and in all my sorrows they are my main consoles," he said. But there were some passions he couldn’t follow. As a young man, Dasgupta was very fond of dancing, but a doctor advised his parents to stop him from dancing as it would further worsen his well-being.
Dasgupta wrote a book entitled, 'My Life, My Love, My Dear Swami’ which was published a couple of years ago. The said book highlights the trials he faces on a daily basis.
It took him two months to complete the book because he couldn't use a regular keyboard attached to a computer but had to rely on a virtual keyboard to type, instead.
The book was later translated into multiple languages including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Oriya, Hindi, and Gujarati. Even the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi loved the book.
Dasgupta has a rare Brittle Bone Disease known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta. It was discovered when he was just a child. He has had more than fifty fractures which rendered him to a wheelchair for life. His joints were operated and are now functional.
Since India is not a radically accessible country, it was hard for Dasgupta to even travel from one place to another. As if that weren’t enough, he had to face a myriad of other challenges too.
"I’ve not got any Government pension yet in spite of having 90% disability," he told me while talking about how he deals with the problems he faces every day.
Although he was confined to his room from 2009 to 2015, Dasgupta was bent on inspiring other differently-abled individuals and he tried every possible course of action in order to break the disability barriers.
"I made myself a Wheelchair Warrior and came out of the room to show the world the power of positivity," Dasgupta said.
He is currently leading a research that focuses on accessibility and how it can be improved at a steady pace over a period of time. Furthermore, he plans to host awareness programmes to encourage people with disabilities to come forward.
Dasgupta believes the differently-abled community of India is highly skilled; however, there's lack of a suitable platform in the country where they can prove what they are capable of doing.
"I wish to make a platform through which all specially-abled people can contribute their bits and the whole society will get benefitted," Dasgupta said.
When I asked him what gives him the strength to keep going, he said: "I always love to smile in every situation as I believe a smile is the signature line of positivity."
(Image Credit: Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta/YouTube)