No hurdle can stop him from flying high. Every time he hits one, he changes his course and thinks his strategy afresh.
Even as life has been playing hide and seek with Rajat, 18, of a remote village of Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, who lost both his arms in a mishap, involving electrocution 11 years back, he moves on undeterred with an open mind and rock-solid determination.
“I was allotted MBBS seat in disabled quota in the Government Medical College at Ner Chowk Mandi earlier this month based on NEET exam, 2019. But when I went for admission, I could not clear the medical examination. I am 85 per cent disabled. The doctors told me that I was not fit to do MBBS degree, as the rules say that I should have both the hands intact with sensation in them. But I don’t have hands. I wouldn’t have been able to carry out mandatory practical work in MBBS,” Rajat told The Statesman in a single breath.
“It came with a flicker of hope and vanished. But that’s okay. They were convincing. I was aspiring to be a doctor as I loved biology. I was a bit demoralised for one moment. Then I thought that it only meant that life has something else in store for me. And I will have to start afresh. I am capable. I will do,” he hastened to express.
Rajat, who writes exams with mouth or feet, has now taken admission in Bachelor of Arts at Government College Mandi with a new target of civil services.
Rajat, a shy but confident boy, had learnt to write with mouth and feet at a young age of seven years, immediately after the mishap.
“I remember that when I lost my arms and was recovering in the hospital, my father asked me to hold a pen in the foot and try to write. That helped me continue studies. A few years later, I try to hold a pen in my mouth and write. With practice, I could do it. This made my life easier,” he shared.
Rajat can work on a computer, other electronic gadgets, and can do his own work, like washing clothes, so that he can live independently. He doesn’t require a writer but has to take his younger brother along during examination to turn the pages of the answer sheet to save time.
“Life has taught me so much. I can face any situation. But I just get nervous when there is too much focus on me,” he shared.
With his extraordinary skills, Rajat got 88 per cent in the tenth standard, studying in a private school in a village, and cleared NEET exam in the first attempt after doing a one-month crash course at an academy.
His parents, who too have been equally brave in handling the differently-abled son, are now moving to Mandi to facilitate him pursue studies smoothly.
“When my son got disabled in the third standard, the entire family went into shock. Then we thought if he has to live that, let’s not sit and waste time. Let’s enable him to work without hands so that there is no gap in his education,” said Jai Ram, Rajat’s father, who retired as a school teacher two years back. He wants the government to grant a reasonable disability pension to his son so that there is no financial constraint to pursue his career.