An interesting real life story that touched my heart

Today I visited an Industrial exhibition in Mumbai where several national and international companies were showcasing their products. As I was going around, I chanced to see a stall where a guy looking very familiar to me appeared. We exchanged glances for a second and instantly recognized each other. This guy supplied us an equipment to our company way back in 1993 when I was working in Vizag. I met him in 1993 in his factory in Mumbai for inspection and was struck by the pitiful sight of his right hand missing completely. I asked him rather curiously how did that happen. He explained that he lost his hand in an accident. Since it happened only a few months before our first meeting, he was really looking grim and was not in a mood to talk much about the unfortunate incident. On my part,I duly completed inspection of our equipment and left Mumbai. I never met him again till today. Although my meeting in 1993 was short,I clearly remembered his face because of this particular handicap. Today, I instinctively looked for his missing right hand and was surprised to see something like a hand dangling on his right side. After initial exchange of pleasantries,I asked him whether it is a prosthetic hand. He said it is only a cosmetic limb,which he wears to enable him to put on a coat or a blazer for formal occasions.
Our conversation got interesting now as I inquired further about his hand. He tells me that he does not feel handicapped at all. I was not sure what he meant by that statement. He explained to me that he manages most of his routine tasks all by himself. He even plays cricket with children and goes for swimming regularly. He even drives his car(the car is without gears and runs on automatic transmission and hence needs only one hand to drive).
What he said next is even more amazing . He claimed that he even plays card games including ‘rummy’ with his grand children! And how does he do it? He uses his legs and toes very effectively. As I was not convinced , he even demonstrated to me how he held cards. He folded his legs partially and used his toes very efficiently to hold cards effortlessly and used his left hand to pick cards of his choice. (He added , for good measure, that he doesn’t allow anyone to see his cards!). To me this is the ultimate in improvisation and innovation.
My next question was to find out whether he goes for parties and if so how does he manage it. My friend had a ready answer. He said with a chuckle, “whenever I go for formal parties, my hosts, noticing my handicap,would depute a sweet looking girl to serve me food and give company”. Isn’t it remarkable the guy manages to look at the positive side of his great misfortune all the time? I told him – “You are a brave man, keep it up” and left his stall.

As I reflected on the episode,I realized that in any adverse situation in life,the choices we make decides our personality and happiness in life. Either we could choose to keep lamenting our fate or excel in living life on our terms.

Having presented the emotional side of the story, I will now deal with how neuroscience can help us to deal with life in a constructive manner. This story is highly relevant in the context of our ongoing discussions on the neuroscience of addictions and change management(see my last couple of posts). We will examine this in more detail in the next couple of posts.

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Published in: on February 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This article highlighting the importance of seeing the brighter side of life situations is simply wonderful and useful.

  2. eagerly waiting for your next post!

  3. We are reminded of John Milton’s quote – “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”, when we come across such inspiring people who face adversity so bravely.


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