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2nd Innings By: Sravani Ramachandran

Hello friends.
Earlier this month, Radha Manda of Tattva Foundation had organized a dance fest for artists of all ages practicing the traditional Indian dance forms. During that, I was invited as a Special guest and was presented with the “I Inspire” award and was asked to give a talk about how I overcame my accident and some takeaways from it.

Thought of sharing the same here. So here goes:
February 9th 2011 was when my accident happened and it changed my life completely.

I suppose the accident marked the most defining phase of my life. It has been a little more than 8 years, but life goes on as it should. And life is continuing to teach me some important lessons.

1. It is often said that we should value things and people. Most listen when this is said, smile, and move on with life. I mean, come on, doesn’t everyone know that?!? Do people really need to hear it time and again? But trust me when I say this, we don’t really know. We are all caught up in our own bubbles chasing something, so much that we tend to take people and things for granted. It’s only when something drastic happens that we realize the importance of things and people. I would not wish for anyone to go through something like this in order to realize that importance, but I suppose we all need a trigger which prompts us to value things and people in a more powerful way. Lesson learned!

2. Another sentiment from our elders is to help others and it will always come back around. However, I wonder, do we really do that? How often does it make sense? Here are some examples of how it made sense to me.
First example: Before my accident, I used to donate blood whenever I could. Firstly, because it was needed by someone and secondly because it would strengthen my own body. I did not realize that a day would come when I would be needing blood from someone else. At the time of my accident, much to my family’s relief, many people came forward to donate their blood to me!
Second example: Before joining IBM, I was between jobs and looking for a good role. Considering my constraints, it was getting difficult for me to get a job in my domain. Being the type of person who cannot sit idle, I started teaching drawing lessons for the kids in my building. One of my neighbors whom I did not know, came to me asking if I could teach her son drawing too. This kid was very restless. He could not sit still for a minute, so I was not sure how I would be able to teach him. However, with my sister’s advice, I agreed to teach him and he went on to do a very fine job at drawing. Me and his mother began talking often and when the mention of my job search came up, she had me speak to her husband who was in a good position in IBM. Within a week’s time, I had the offer letter in hand! The role was a stretch outside of my domain, but it was going to keep me occupied. It came with a lot of challenges, but I hung in there. Now, thanks to the management, I have been given a role that is a lot closer to my area of interest, and on the 12th of November, I completed 4 years with IBM!
These experiences helped me realize “when you help others, the universe gives you so much more in abundance”. Lesson learned!

3. I used to sketch before my accident, but my MBA and the eventual corporate life reduced the time I had available to pursue this hobby. After my fall, I had a lot of time on hand, and with the time and the interest, I took it up more seriously. Initially it was just meant to be a distraction, but it became so much more. It served as a confidence booster. I started trying out different media, taking lessons, and I began to really enjoy the art. As I got better, I was fortunate to have platforms to display my art to the public and even sell them! I have been displaying my art work at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath’s Chitrasanthe for the last 6 years and hope to continue. In the month of May, I, through the Rotary Bangalore Abilities Team, a team of differently abled people, organized an Art Exhibition where all 30 artists were differently abled. The artists included speech and hearing impaired, one who had polio, another who had loco motor disabilities, one who had down syndrome, and even someone with visual impairment! These were artists who looked beyond their impairment and used art as their medium of expression. It was an incredibly positive and inspiring experience for me, which helped me to realize that “out of limitation comes creativity”. Lesson learned.

4. My accident has surely strengthened my bonds with a lot of people. Be it parents, siblings, friends or other family members, I have come to know who forms my integral support system. They are the ones who are there for us, by our side, encouraging us, supporting us, giving us the helping hand, lifting us up when we’re down, while letting us know that they are there for us. The very presence of these people in our lives helps us regain our lost strength and confidence. There are others too, who, thanks to their absence, teach us something. They teach us that –“In times of prosperity, your friends know you and in times of adversity, you know your friends”. Lesson learned.

5. Another important thing that I have learned is to stay hopeful and to be positive. It surely is difficult to see the good in all situations but I believe that is alright. What is important is that you do not give up on people or on life. We all have our ordeals, and pushing ourselves through each day can be a challenge at times. But please do not succumb to the struggles. Please try your best at all things, and know that it will work out. It may take time, but hang in there. The sun will come out! “For, there is light at the end of every tunnel”. Lesson learned. 6. For me the most important thing that I have learned is to trust the Almighty. Having faith in him is what will keep us buoyant even when we are drowning. Believing that he has something better in store for us is something which will keep us hoping. Hope begins in the dark; the stubborn hope that if we just show up and push ourselves to do the right thing, the dawn will come. For sure. Its only when you have lived through your storm will you know that the “greater the storm, the brighter the rainbow”!! Lesson learned!

For me, this is a second life. I survived the first one. And the second one, I know I have to LIVEto the fullest.

I am a big fan of test cricket, so I say, in my first innings, I got out for 26. And in my second innings, I got to make a century and in style!!


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