Disha is an IIM-C alumna and also the author of ‘Because Life is a Gift’; a book which showcases the triumph of spirit over disability through the success stories of 15 differently-abled people. Her first book ‘My Beloved’s MBA Plans’ was about balancing professional dreams with personal responsibilities and had stories of couples who went for higher studies post marriage. Disha endeavours to bring about a social change through her writings.
Ananya Dhawan: Describe ‘writing’ in three words
Disha:Prayer, freedom, expression!
A.D.:Brief us a little about ‘Because Life is a Gift’ and what inspired you to write it?
Disha: ‘Because Life is a Gift’ is an inspirational account of 15 differently-abled people who have risen against all odds and obstacles in their lives to achieve milestones not just for themselves, but for the society and the country as well. Reading this book will make one appreciate life in its fullest sense, give a positive dimension to living it fully; despite the most difficult situations and circumstances in life.
The inspiration for writing this book came from Suresh, the first few 100% visually impaired person to graduate from the prestigious Indian Institute of Managements, the first one to do so from IIM Calcutta. He redefined the word ‘impossible’ for me. Till then, I had always believed that a disabled person does not have any ambitions in his life. He needs our sympathies. But here, was a person who had achieved so much that thousands others could just dream about. This person changed my thought process for differently-abled people and gave me an inspiration to find others like him and pen their stories to change the societal thinking about disability.
A.D.:Did the writing of ‘Because…’ change you in some way?
Disha: Meeting these wonderful men and women, who have not let disability become an excuse for failure has completely changed me as a person. Not only has it made me more person, but also has made me look at life in a very positive manner.
No longer do I complain of anything to God.
It has made me truly believe that life is a gift, to be cherished and lived fully.
Reading this book will make one appreciate life in its fullest sense, give a positive dimension to living it fully; despite the most difficult situations and circumstances in life.
A.D.: How was the experience of meeting in person the characters in the on whom the stories are based?
Disha.: It was an extremely challenging task to talk to people who were deaf and dumb and learning to appreciate words beyond language and feelings beyond communication. The biggest difficulty was overcoming the limitations of my own thought process and attitude towards disability. I remember I went in to meet a man who was bed ridden for the last 28 years of his life and had seen Sunlight only on days when he was taken to hospital visits. I had expected to meet a gloomy person in front of me. But here was a man whose smile just transformed me within seconds, whose positivity is nothing less than a miracle. Each story was a great learning experience for me, each person extremely special.
A.D.: How was their reaction to your writing about their lives? Did you have to convince them in some sort of way?
Disha: Initially, most of them were hesitant. Many thought I would commercialize their lives, play around with words or portray them as good for nothing. It took me a lot of convincing to explain to them my objective of writing the book. I wanted the world to see the differently-abled in a truly special way. I wanted the world to change its attitude towards disability. But once now, they have the book in their hands, their expressions made it all worth it. It’s like 15 biographies, with each of the 15 individual proud of the book and proud of being part of it.
TE book or Paperback?
Pets or no pets?
One thing/person you can never get tired of!
One thing you know you need to stop doing!
Trying to be always available for everyone
Three words to describe yourself!
Independent, Dreamer, Intelligent
A.D.: Who, among them, has influenced you the most?
Disha: It is difficult to pull out one name. Each of them has been so special; each of them has given me so many wonderful lessons in life. Each of them has made me a better human being.
A.D.:Do you, someday, plan to take up writing as a full time job?
Disha: I don’t know. May be ..
A.D.: What is your personal philosophy in life?
Disha: To live and leave the world a little better than the way I came in.
A.D.: How supportive is your family of your writing?
Disha.: My family has been extremely supportive of me following my passion. They are especially happy with the topics I chose to write as they know these are topics the world needs to open up to; be it disability or balancing personal relationships and professional ambitions.
A.D: Few words for budding authors.
Disha: Write first for yourself, then for others. Write regularly and maintain the rhythem.