It has been a while since I held a pen to write about someone who really inspired me and moved me to tears at the same time. The reason I am back to writing after such a long hiatus is because I thought that the story of this particular person must reach everyone of his times and after his times. I was desperately in need for a push to come back here and start all over. An artist/writer goes around looking for inspiration that makes him bring out the best in him, but what he accidentally stumbles upon is what brings out the best work. That is what I hope has happened to me now. To me, more than just writing an impeccable piece, it’s about reaching out to everyone with Mr. V.Chandrasekhar’s story. How many of us know about Mr. V.Chandrasekhar other than people of his times who also have sadly forgotten him?
I didn't know of his existence until I came across a special episode of ‘Kannadada Kotiyadipathi’ (kannada version of KBC) where Indian cricketer Anil Kumble mentioned about raising funds for Mr Chandrasekhar’s Table Tennis Academy in Chennai. But until they showed him in person thanking Mr. Kumble and wishing him good luck for the game show, I thought him to be a normal sportsperson (of which I had no clue of either) who was trying to get recognition and aid for his game, in this cricket obsessed country.
Mr. Venugopal Chandrasekhar is a former national Table Tennis player & Arjuna award winner from Chennai. He was a flamboyant player back in 1980’s and it is said that tickets for his matches used to be sold in black in TT patronized cities. He was also the first player from the non cricket world to be approached for commercials. He achieved great heights until 1984 when a negligent knee operation in the renowned Apollo hospitals threw every dream and life of his out of the window. A wrong dosage of anaesthesia left him paralysed and his brain damaged. He also lost most of his vision. He was known for his powerful personality, immense talent and also exuded the passion for making TT a forerunner back then. The legal battle went on for 10 years before Apollo hospitals decided to settle for their negligence. His dreams of making it big in TT definitely reached a dead end but his passion for it didn't He went through treatments and today has regained almost 70% vision and most movement of his limbs. He still suffers from a condition called nystagmus because of which his eyeballs cannot focus making it sometime really difficult to walk for him in the dark. As taken from his autobiography "My fight back from Death's door","There are times when I stumble on the footpath, and people have thought that I was drunk.
That is when it hurts for it is not my fault. Then I look at the computer in my office and cannot
read the small letters. To be lesser than a normal human being is what pains me the most
But I know I have to carry on. There is no point in looking back."
It is indeed very agonizing to see a legend reduced to almost nothing physically but he hasn't let this get to him instead has started his own TT academy and trains aspiring young ones like him there. He has shown many of us, all that is needed to reach out and make ourselves an identity is determination and the ability to face what may come. He fell down, but raised stronger & even more determined like a phoenix. This is what is for the majority of hale & healthy people with their brain and limbs intact to be learned from people like him who despite all inabilities continue to fight on for their passion and live life on. There are many in this world like Mr. Chandrasekhar whose stories have to come out to teach the many million normal people to live life cheerfully. It is up to us to keep these people alive in our memories and pass on their stories to the future.
For all the people, you and I alike, not to lose our faith in ourselves when we fail but start fresh with even greater vigour and zeal and leave back the past baggage behind. For all the old and young alike who think of taking drastic steps when they just fall short of their goal; everything is not lost; you still have that moment to live, live it to the fullest coz you cannot relive it again. For everyone alike, be thankful that you are privileged than many on this earth who fight numerous hardships just to see a ray of hope and light everyday. I am thankful that I am one among those fortunate who gets to live each day contentedly without having to put up a struggle. I have always noticed that when I slowly lose the enthusiasm in life, I come across such people or incidents which make me realise I have nothing to complain about. It makes me want to do more for others.
Man is a greedy animal; time and again it gets proved. Today we have grown intolerably self-centered and crave for more and yet remain unsatisfied. If only we open up a little, we will notice that there are lot of people who don’t even get to live what we do. It most definitely will make you feel very much gifted. It will make you forget for a moment that 'I am most important'. Man may have become everything dark but I still have faith he hasn't lost compassion for mankind at least. We need to keep reminding ourselves that there is more to life and live cheerfully.