New Delhi: A restaurant owner, a rally car driver, a record breaking swimmer, Deepa Malik handles all these roles and much more with equal ease. She does all of this from her wheelchair.
Deepa got to know about the tumour in her spinal cord when her husband was fighting the Kargil war. She had no one to share her dread with.
She said, "My doctors clearly told me that there are only two options. We sacrifice your lower limbs and save your marital organs and bladder. Or we leave you walking with crutches but you have to give up on your bladder control and vaginal sensation. You will forever have to walk with the urine bag attached to your body. I preferred the chair."
Deepa told about her condition to her husband through a satellite phone and he said 'don't worry about your legs just don't die on me. I'm willing to carry you all my life in my arms."
It took two years of treatment and physiotherapy for Deepa to accept that her paralysis was for life. Her family has been her real strength, they have made changes around the house to make her more self sufficient.
Today Deepa runs a restaurant in Ahmednagar. She has set a record of driving 55 kms on her modified bike and has swum across the raging Yamuna. She has also raced across the Himalayas.
Deepa said, "People say I'm overdoing it. It's like 'Wheel chair pe baithke bhi isko chain nahin hai' (She couldn't rest even if she's on the wheel chair). I say it's here in the mind not in the body."