One of the most age-old philosophical questions that has been posed is:
Why do bad things happen to good people?
Undeniably, this question is loaded with subjectivity and would not stand technical scrutiny at all. What can be defined as good and bad itself is a debatable starting point. The answers surely have a lot to do with perspectives, attitudes and outcomes. Opportunity and luck also being important ingredients for the potboiler called ‘life’.
The fact is that all sorts of things happen to all sorts of people. How we respond to these situations is probably what defines us as a person.
My thoughts reach out to the Paralympics athletes who are currently participating in the Para Olympics event in Tokyo. Irrespective of the their nationalities, each one has an amazing story to tell which is awe-inspiring and motivating for the entire world.
Just to highlight this fact, I have attached a video of an Egyptian Table Tennis player, Ibrahim Hamadtou. He lost both his arms in a train accident when he was a 10 year old kid. Just look at his marvellous skills of tossing the ball with his toe and playing with the racket held in his mouth. Of course, these are not inherited by birth. These have been acquired through sheer hard work, persistence and doggedness.
Equally heartwarming was to see the hand-volleyball being played by the specially privileged while being squatted on the ground. Looking at them playing with such joy, you almost feel like joining them on the court.
Although each competitor is equally worthy in his/ her endeavour to overcome adversity, I have picked out a couple of players from the Indian contingent as well.
Sumit Antil following the footsteps of overnight celebrity Neeraj Chopra, was actually a budding wrestler till 2015 when at the age of 17, he had a horrific motorcycle accident. The amputation of his left leg did not deter this spirited lad to to become a javelin gold medalist in six years of focused and intense training.
Avani Lekhara, our 19 year old gold medalist in 10M Air Rifle shooting had a similar past. Severe spinal injuries at the age of 10 in a car accident with her very survival at stake. What a journey to being a world record holder! She can’t stand but look how tall she stands today on the podium.
The beautiful part is that none of these players are screaming or shouting in celebration. Humble in disposition and appreciative of their fellow competitors, they showcase what sports was always about viz. spirit of solidarity, friendship and fair play.
When you interact with them, you find that the last thing they want is our sympathies and mention of their impairment. Well past the denial stage, they are in full acceptance of their uniqueness and special circumstances. They have channelized their energies in ways worth emulating. They just want affirmation and acknowledgement of being, “no lesser”.
The common refrain visible is that they are ‘differently enabled’ and not ‘disabled’. After all, can the ‘so called normal‘ ever imagine coming even remotely close to their achievements?
Any time we are feeling low, I suggest we should put on the videos of the Paralympics event and for some strange reason, you will find the gloom vanishing. All our justifications for not attempting something or following up on our commitments just disappear. Their indomitable spirit and humility is so infectious indeed.
Hopefully, every nation will give these players the same welcome when they return after the event as is deserved by national heroes.
Life has always been about living and this message is writ large on their gleaming and elated faces. These players truly embody the Olympic spirit of “the effort, the struggle and the refusal to ever give up” towards building a better and peaceful world.
In salutation to these solid customers,
Hats off! Each one a champion and each one a winner!
First published at seekmediation.com on 02/09/2021
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