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Keep the show going- Salil Chaturvedi July 10, 2007

Posted by K in Ablility, Life, People I honour.

I read this, and felt that I wanted to share this with, well, whoever is reading the blog right now 🙂


Keep the show going

Salil Chaturvedi

Posted online: Saturday, July 07, 2007 at 0000 hrs

Lessons that a spinal injury taught me

Within days of my accident in 1984, as I lay paralysed and heavily drugged in the ICU of the Command Hospital, Lucknow, I was given a card by my family. It showed gay dancing girls on-stage, hands entwined behind their backs, kicking up one leg in a lively dance routine. One of the girls was missing from the row. The card simply said, ‘The Show Must Go On.’ I am certain that the card was chosen by my father, for I know his habit of examining cards in detail before deciding on the right one.

Months after the accident, as the family struggled to come to terms with the word ‘spinal injury’, my elder brother was assisting me with my daily exercises. I had been encouraged to try and walk with callipers and some support. Bhaiya would sit on the wheelchair to lend stability to it and I would hold the pushing handles and swing my callipers from the waist in an attempt to walk — something like a goose waddling on land. One evening, as we were doing this, I got frustrated and started berating my brother

because no one else was around. To my horror he simply got up from the chair, which left me with no support. I swayed uncertainly for a moment and then came crashing to the ground. His words still resound in my ears, “Don’t think you’ll have it special because you have a disability.” I’ll be for ever indebted to him for teaching me that lesson. The drama of the fall helped to drive home the point quicker.

Years later, when a friend and I had gone to an Air Force Officers’ Mess to play billiards, a senior officer almost bumped into me. He sprang back to avoid collision. As I passed him, he looked at my friend behind me, and with a sympathetic cluck of the tongue asked, “Polio?” Without pausing to think, my friend replied matter-of-factly, “No, Salil.” We were in splits after that but when I look back on the incident I feel that if only people took a leaf out of my friend’s book and learnt to look at the person rather than the disability, the world would be a different place.

And thanks for the card, dad. I’m still trying to keep the show going.

The part I liked the best? His saying that the world would be a different place. Not better, as people are wont to say, but different. I agree. I try to imagine a world where the first thing you notice about a person is the person, and not the embellishments accompanying the person. There are a few people who create such a world, and to them I am grateful. It rubs off on me and makes me a better person : )

This article is one of the best things I have read in a while.





1. pallavi - July 10, 2007

salil i have to say this is one of the most beautiful account of what anybody has ever learnt from an injury that ive ever read ..REALLY:)
thanks for writing it

2. Hanedin - July 11, 2007

what does one say to something like that?

3. jnarin - July 11, 2007

Interesting.. 🙂

4. parivrajak - July 11, 2007

I agree with you abt the best part. That was what I first noticed too.

And also the “The show must go on.” I’ve known people to wallow in self-pity and whine abt not having the courage to go on. And self-pity destroys any bit of self-strength one has; makes one a puddle. :-I

So yeah. Branding ppl by what we see at first look rather than what they are, and self pity – two things needed to be bitten out of our systems to make the world a different place. And possibly a better one, too. 🙂

Wonderful article! 🙂

5. chandni - July 13, 2007

Thank you for the post. That’s all that I want to say.

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