Making the impossible possible
DIMAPUR, JANUARY 22
53-year-old Sushil Kumar lost both his hands at the age of 18 when he was working at 89 RCC (GREF) in Zubza. While cutting down a tree near a road side, he slipped and caught hold of the tree with both arms …but while he lived to tell the tale the live post meant that he lost the use of his arms.The shock of being armless as a young teenager instead of defeating Kumar’s spirit sparked in him a fire to rise to the challenge of his condition. Not to say moments of dying as an alternative did not invade his thoughts. Only that the thought to fight his inability outweighed the sense to go down with his loss.
He wasn’t ready to be a beggar like the many people he would see begging if they were physically disabled. The thought of him how people would perceive him was most frightening. There would be some kind persons but there would also be those who would slap or kick him, he told himself.
He decided then to meet the incumbent Chief Minister, the late JB Jasokie. As expected, it was difficult meeting the Chief Minister, and Kumar’s request was turned down several times.
It was only when he was on his last leg of hope that the doors opened, and he was finally face to face with the Chief Minister.
But if Kumar thought the meeting was going to be enough to start him up in life he would learn from that meeting that while human beings are quick to judge by the cover of one’s physical appearance, the spirit inside is often missed.
While the Chief Minister was shocked to see his condition, Kumar says it was hard for him to convince the man that a person without both his arms was not completely useless. Kumar recalls telling the late leader that while he may not have hands he still had a “brain that works, eyes to see, ears to hear and a mouth to speak”.
After a few attempts and misses one which also saw Kumar stationed in Nagaland House, Kolkata for two months, Kumar made his way back to Dimapur on the kindness of the manager, he recalls.
He once again met Jasokie, no longer Chief Minister of the state by then, who offered him the post as a watchman for Khosa Mill, owned by the Indian Plywood company. This worked for a while but with the Supreme Court ban on timber felling in the North East this too was shut down. The mill was shut down in late 1990.
Once more uncertainty overtook his life as he barley had enough to make ends meet.
Moreover in 1985, he had married and had two children to also look after.
He says the children were his strength to get atop his situation. He wanted to give them the best he could. He wanted his children to study in the best school, to achieve something great in life. He said he would often tell them that he would have no peace of mind if they were unable to stand on their feet.
To support his family, he tried his hands as an auto driver by investing in a second hand auto. But the daily maintenance was more than he could afford.
With his remaining savings he bought a small plot of land and built a shop which he also gave on rent.
Kumar is careful to attribute his achievements to his wife and children who he says have been his support through thick and thin.
He told Eastern Mirror that the only way to go forward in life is to work hard.
He said his disability has taught him the most precious lesson about life that ‘you have to try and try again till you succeed”.
He challenged the youth who complain about unemployment with his story.
He wished to share with them the universal truth that when you look for solutions they are there and likewise problems tend to hang around as long as you let them.