By Varun Vaidya
about the author:
Varun Vaidya is 19 years old. He lives in India. Both he and his older brother have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
DMD Didn’t End My Life
I am Varun Vaidya, 19 years old, suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). I am going to share my DMD journey.
Helpful Hand for My Brother
My elder brother Karan was already suffering from DMD. I used to help my brother as much as possible as I was just 6 years old at that time. In our society we both used to race with each other (my brother on wheelchair and me on cycle).
My brother used to get fractures many time by falling down at home. So one day we were outside but that time he already got plaster. While my mom was bringing wheelchair down from stairs I used to lift his legs a little bit up, so that he should not get hurt by shock. I loved to help my brother a lot.
My Introduction to DMD
We both were studying in same school in Pune, Maharashtra. During break time I usually came downstairs to my brother’s class to have lunch with him. At age of 9 years DMD started coming into effect, due to that it was difficult for me to walk.
So I was worried why I am not able to lift up my leg to walk. I started thinking that I would also need to sit on wheelchair like my brother and would not able to walk normally like other childrens. And also I thought I would not able to play with my friends as usual.
But my mother counselled me that you should not worry. She said “People have two legs but you will have four legs”.
And also she told it is an advantage for you, you will not need to roam by yourselves, now you can comfortably move around on wheelchair. Because of my mother’s counselling and my brother’s experience I got to know that here new life begin with new destination.
Due to weakness in legs it was getting difficult to walk normally. Then also I was accompanying my brother during break time. But my mother advised me not to do that again because there are chances of falling on stairs as children in school always hurry during break time. So I agreed to it.
My BMW Car
After my walking stopped, I got my wheelchair. My mother was taking me and my brother for evening walk on wheelchair, wherever I was playing and racing with my brother.
But my mother never told us that we are disabled. She always told us that “You are specially-abled and a warrior against DMD not disabled.”
After few months we shifted to Jammu because of my father’s transfer.
Many schools were rejecting both brother’s admissions and they were stating “if something happens to them we are not to be blamed” as a reason.
But many days of research, our parents got the school which accepted our admission by normal process. In there other childrens were very friendly. They always helped me. A caretaker was assigned by school, who helped for lifting me on bench and also helped me in washroom.
DMD Didn’t End My Life
DMD didn’t end my life, it introduced me to my talents.
In school there was hobby period, in which all were outdoor sports. So I was not able to take part in it. A music teacher saw me sitting alone so she said you can join my class. So I agreed to it and also got happy for being engaged in an activity during hobby period like my friends.
From next day onwards I was going for music class during hobby period. After seeing my performance in music class, the teacher encouraged me to take part in assembly choir.
From then I frequently took part in annual day function for group songs also. One day I also sang solo song on stage and everybody clapped for me. It motivated my inner soul. So DMD helped me to know my inner talent. And also I was interested in other creative things like drawing and crafting. I also took part in those competitions.
Not only I am enthusiastic for art and craft but I am better at speaking also.
My Performance in Academy
My scores in all subjects were good. I was quick to grasp important points while being taught in school. Also my remembrance power was good. I was not liking the way of mugging up while studying. I always noted important points to learn. And elaborated my answer using own words not learning the whole sentence.
Due to this, there is less burden on brain and I was able to focus more during exam and study. Whenever I wanted to take rest from study time I spent my time in doing hobbies, this regenerates my energy for next slot of study.
In 9th class (IGCSE) I got admission in Cambridge board because of delay in admission process for CBSE board (Indian affiliated board) because of shifting in Gujarat because of my brother’s post graduation. In there I got to know my academic interest.
There was choice of two subjects economics and accounting. I chose economics and felt comfortable with it. So I set my career ambition in economics field. With economics, I balanced other subjects too. In IGCSE, I opt for English second language instead of English first language. So in English second language it consisted of speaking and listening. It helped me developed my vocational skills. In IGCSE (10th class) I passed with 70%. Then I proceeded for as level.
In AS level, I choose commerce stream subjects included economics, business and accounting and IT as optional subject. I was really having trouble in accounting as being introduced for first time. Most of the basic was taught in IGCSE. But accounting sir managed to teach me basics within the curriculum. But it took me long time to understand the concepts.
During high cases of Covid-19 in India schools were shut so classes were conducted online. So it made more difficult for me to manage accounting and also IT but was little bit able to manage other theoretical subjects. I also failed a internal assessment of accounting.
Because of that failure I was able to standup against accounting. So after many tries I was able to understand concept and managed to pass accounting during board. But the grades were not as expected due to difference in online schooling and physical.
I passed AS level with 50%. In A level the grades were carried forward from AS level because of staged assessment. In A level, I passed with 60% because of the AS level grades effect. But I was satisfied with the performance.
My Independence Day
When I was in 9th class, the principal of school suggested my father to buy electric wheelchair for me. And also principal promised to make ground floor accessible by installing ramp. So that I can independently roam around school without help.
So my father brought me electric wheelchair on day of India’s independence (15 Aug). I was very happy at that time.
In the next day only ramps were installed in school. For first time I felt nervous using electric wheelchair, as earlier it was manual. But after many applications I got comfortable to drive.
It also built up my confidence because I was able to drive independently whenever I wanted to move like normal person.
I got many achievement for co-circular activities. Like in ABACUS, I completed 7 stages, in one of the stage I got consolation medal.
I sang song for Jigar foundation which was NGO for specially abled. In that, I got trophy for excellent performance. In English Olympiad, I got gold medal. And in Hindi poem recitation competition in school, I got 3rd rank.
Also I sang song for Akashvani All India Radio (AIR) programme in occasion of children’s day. It also got broadcasted on radio platform.
My Career Ambition
As I was interested in economics field, I chose Company Secretary (CS) as my career ambition. Currently I got admission for Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) degree. And I hope my best for getting job as CS in future.