My cousin Aryaman had always been a very bright student since childhood. The one who was not only a scholar but good in sports too. He was the pride of his parents and all of us. We all loved him so dearly. I sometimes envied him because of all the attention and praise that he would gather as I wished I could be like him.

Life was easy and beautiful until the time he was promoted to high school when he met with a severe accident leaving him critically injured. He was in coma for 3 long months. Doctors said that he had a brain injury and he would struggle to keep up with others of his age. Those words fell like lightening on all of us. Seeing your loved one lying like a corpse, not saying a word, not listening to anything is the most fearful sight one can ever come across.

After three months he recovered from coma, those were the longest three months of our lives. We were relieved and happy to see his eyes open, to hear him talk to us but we were sad about the way he spoke. He was no longer the same boy we knew three months ago from then. He seemed like a five year old in the body of a 17 year old.

He was kept on medication for as long as a year but we saw no improvement, his parents started losing strength. The only thing they could do was accept things as they came but, my aunty was determined to get her son back. She knew that she would be able to see his generous smile again, she knew that he’ll again win medals, he’ll again be a scholar and he’ll again be the pride to the society. She decided to put him to school again. He struggled to keep up with the other kids in school. Teachers tried to help him but had too much on their plate. So she called his mom and told her that he was “slow” and that she didn’t’t have the time to devote to him in class. She went on to tell my aunt that she thought Aryaman might be mentally challenged. Of course my aunt protested as she believed that he was as normal as other students.

Aryaman suddenly started losing his smile as he also realised that there was something wrong with him, he was no more the genius of the class. He had to face humiliation daily from his peers and teachers. After more discussions with the administration, the teachers and principle, it was decided that he would be placed in Resource, a special education program the school offered. He didn’t want to go to resource, he didn’t want to be abnormal or dumb but that is how it felt.

Every day he could hear the whispers and giggles of other kids and he felt lonely and dejected.

But this humiliation ended up being a blessing in disguise. One day his resource teacher came to us and told us that Aryaman was very good at creating stories and he wrote beautifully. She started working with him and helped him craft stories. She encouraged him to use his imagination and inspired him to create and dream big. She offered him a gift by recognising his potential. Little did she know that she was sowing seeds in a young heart that would one day bloom into a profession of writing and public speaking. Today he is a very successful author and public figure.

Yes, initially he struggled a lot, he felt broken at times, felt like giving up but the constant support and encouragement from his family and teachers gave him new hopes and possibilities.

The path to success is never easy, it is full of various obstacles but when you keep your head high and smile through every hurdle nobody can stop you from soaring high.

When he was told about his disability he felt devastated and defeated. We all struggle, that’s not the question. The question is: What will we do with our struggle? If we allow it to lift us out of ourselves and into a bigger story – into the story of humanity where we can add value to others – then it’s worth it.

J.K. Rowling, the world-renowned author of the Harry Potter books, almost lost all hope years ago as a single-mom without a job living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Life was hard and she was depressed.

But amid this struggle, Rowling would walk the streets of Edinburgh until her baby fell asleep, and then plop down in a café and write. It was during this time Harry Potter was born.

The world is forever changed because of Rowling’s work – a work forged in the trenches of her own pain and struggle.

Would she have started writing if she hadn’t gone through a divorce and felt so alone? We don’t know. But the truth is her struggle created the environment for her to dream big and take steps. One should know that hard work and efforts do not go in vain.

Struggle can lead us on the path of extraordinary.:

Blog Writer: Siddhi Gupta, BA (Hons) Economics, SOHSS

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