Imagining spending even one day without the use of hands and legs is a difficult task for a majority of us. But one man has decided to challenge a debilitating disease and become an inspiration to many. This is Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta.
Born in 1991, the 26-year-old suffered three fractures even before his first birthday. Worried, his parents took him to an orthopaedics doctor who diagnosed him with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, more commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease. Having suffered 50 fractures so far, his bones are now fixed, and he can not walk. His life is now dependent on an electric wheelchair to move around at home or outside. Despite the hardships, Sai Kaustuv is an accomplished graphic designer, composer, singer, and motivational speaker.
In an interview Sai Kaustuv told more about his inspirational journey.
Tell us a little about your childhood.
I was in born in Siliguri, West Bengal. My childhood is very memorable. I was a bright student. I was a good dancer, but I could not continue it as every time I would dance, my bones would get fractured. My mother had a flair for singing, and I followed her footsteps, and I bagged the Dishari Award for the Best Child Singer of West Bengal for the year 1999-2000. I also got many opportunities to sing before legends like Anuradha Paudwal, Manna Dey, Anup Jalota, Rashid Khan and many others. I have also composed more than 140 songs. I received my training in Hindustani Classical music and have released a video DVD and MP3 video album.
What motivated you?
I had it within me that I should not be affected by this disability. I knew I had the potential. So instead of cribbing about my limitations, I decided to spread love as I wanted to prove that disability will not let me down.
What were the challenges you faced?
There were many challenges. In 2009, I had to get rid of my wheelchair as my shoulder got displaced and there was no way out. For six years I confined myself in a small room and did not see sun, moon, sky or trees. I felt it was the end of life and then a thought occurred to me that if I am so down what will happen to other people who have a disability? I had to prove that disability affects the body and not the mind. I decided to smile through it all, and the world around me started changing. Finally, in 2015, I got another accessible wheelchair which made me feel alive again.
You are a graphic designer. What is the process you follow for working when your joints are fixed?
I have an adjustable size table, and my father put a laptop on it. When the screen comes at my level, I operate it using a mouse. I create all the graphics with the mouse clicks of just two fingers. It is possible. Sometimes, I lie on the bed and operate it
What other activities interest you other than graphic designing?
I love to give inspirational talks around the world about being stress-free and happy. I have done this around the country. I also do an online session on Skype with people in the US, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal, Indonesia, etc.
Where do you wish to take these activities further?
I want to bring awareness about accessibility in every part of the country through my talks and designs. I was pursuing BA, but I could not appear for examination due to my acute disability. I want to solve the problems faced by the physically challenged people so that the future generations don’t have to face them. I wish to work with the government authorities to observe the scopes and exposure available to individuals with the disability like me. I am curious to know the facilities we could get from the government and how we could utilise them as per our requirements. Our government is already doing many things for us, but it is necessary to find out which practically benefits us. My goal is to make people smile through my activities.
Congratulations on winning the Wheelchair Wanderlust Competition. Tell us a little more about it.
UMOJA, an international organisation, organised it. It is an online travel platform which makes finding accessible hotels easy for travellers with disabilities. They organised #WheelchairWanderlust competition. Here, a wheelchair user can enter to win a completely accessible holiday for up to four of their friends or family at one of the 15 destinations across India. And I went for an accessible trip to Goa as a part of its Grand Prize. It took me 19 hours to reach Goa from Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh) as I had to go in a car.
What books have you authored?
I released ‘My life, My love and My Dear Swami’ in 2015 in English. I tried to spread the message of love and positivity around the world through this book. The book has been translated into Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Oriya and Hindi. I had also sent one copy to the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
Any message to our readers?
Yes. I want to tell all my Wheelchair Warriors that life is unique. There is nothing to worry because everything is possible!
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