Thursday, July 2, 2020

Handicapped with a hand to hold; Rupali from a Nagrota slum

Pallavi Sareen 

NAGROTA, Dec 2: Walking hand-in-hand has a different meaning for the couple living in a slum area near Army Base camp Nagrota. Rupali, a woman who lost her legs in a train accident three years ago after working for various security agencies as claimed by her, she now spends her days living life to the fullest with her husband Kishan.

Despite tragedy knocking at their doors as a matter of routine, the couple hasn’t lost faith in life and in God. 15th April 2015 is the date imprinted on the mind of young Rupali who was travelling in Jamuna express to go to Bhopal for an interview when the accident happened. After spending 4.5 lakhs in surgery and 1.8 lakh on blood, she was finally back on the right track, losing her legs along the way.

Kishan, who works normal jobs as painter, delivery boy etc just to sustain livelihood for them both is an example of how a life-partner should be. Where in today’s age, divorces are common occurrences and most married couples find faults in each other, even the couples who love their better half find it difficult to look in the face of tragedy if something happens to their partner. Yet it is the strong will of both Rupali and Kishan which keeps them going with laughter in their eyes and no regrets.

Even after recovering from the loss of both of her legs, the couple faced another travesty as their young daughter died three months ago. Despite continuous efforts, the doctors could not save her life and the couple was left with just a ten-year-old son whose education they cannot afford

The story of Rupali and Kishan would not have come to light if not for the innovative vehicle they both use to travel around. Instead of a normal wheelchair which would make Rupali dependent upon another person entirely while isolating her on the chair, it had a bigger seat, like a rickshaw with ample space for both her and Kishan to sit on it and move it by peddling with their hands.

The couple had gone out for fresh air and a bath in the river and ended up doing the Ganpati Visarjan with some CRPF man. They were headed back to their homes chatting along the way and peddling the vehicle carefully on the road.

“My will is all a result of my experience in the Indian Army. We are told to keep moving ahead and not look back and that is what I keep on doing in life. What has happened has happened. Nothing can be done about it now. All I can do is stay strong,” said Rupali.

“My son is ten years old and I just call him Chota Kishan since he hasn’t been formally named yet. Though we cannot afford his education right now, I want him to get educated and join the Indian Army as well,” she further said.

“Ours was a love marriage. We used to fight a lot and then became friends. After we fell in love, marriage was inevitable. It was terrible what happened to her but that doesn’t change anything for me. We just keep on living our lives one day at a time, trying to be as happy as we can. Just now as we were coming back from the river, we were talking about how her mother is going to scold us for going there since she gets worried something will happen to us,” said Kishan.

“I always wanted to get married to an army officer but somehow fell in love with this guy. Even our parents agreed to it. In the end, it all worked out fine, so I guess that is how God willed it,” said Rupali.

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