AUTHOR: RTN RADHIKA SATHYANARAYANA
PART 1- PREETI SRINIVASAN OF SOUL FREE
One would never have experienced a Wednesday evening at RCME when the hall was brimming to capacity and so were people’s eyes. Am sure every heart was as heavy as mine, and every one of us were ripped of our right to complain anymore, ever.
Three touching stories of three women who made their life an example for others to follow, who proved, that what the mind conceived, you can achieve- it didn’t matter that two of them had restricted physical capabilities and the third had restricted economical situation.
Preeti Srinivasan- Founder of Soul free, an institution she founded to empower and bring about improved opportunities in rehab, education and employment of the positively abled.
Madhavi Latha– Founder of “Yes We Too Can” Movement
Dr.Uthayamalar – who runs an orphanage Bharatamatha Home, since 45 years, all by herself
The Chief Guest was Mr. Ramakrishnan S, founder of Amar Seva Sangam and as one rightly pointed out, the event required a chief guest who could inspire these tall women who were inspiration themselves and this man fit the part to perfection.
All three are stories of grit and determination and a great lesson to all. I choose to write about one person now, so the article is short enough to grab people’s attention, as they all have life`s stories that remains a lesson for life, for the rest of the world.
Preeti Srinivasan, the first speaker, embraced the audience with ease and asked them cheekily, “how many of you wear glasses. And do you all think you are handicapped?” She suggests, we are all handicapped in our own little ways, for nobody is perfect and her degree of disability is different from others.
Her introduction said she was a captain of U 19 girls cricket team apart from various other physical activities she indulged in as any fun loving happy teenager of doting parents. A freak accident at the beach turned her overnight from that active girl to a Quadriplegic who had a few near death experiences. The story of her rise from being a dependent poor soul to becoming a messiah for all those like her and worse off, have many tragic moments, which she chose not to dwell on. The loss of her father , when he was the only source of her strength post the accident, her mother`s bypass soon after , were like tragedy working overtime on her and her family. But she chose to impart to us only the beautiful lesson her father gave her- “what’s with the body. It goes away. All of us lose it one fine day and it is what’s inside that matters. The work we do that leaves an indelible mark of the life we live- not the bodies”. She called her mother the actual hero – who hasn’t slept for more than 2 hrs straight any day, as she must move Preeti every 2 hrs, a basic routine they all need to follow . That was Preeti- looking at the bright side. After her talk, it is her affectionate chirpy side one will remember and her face with that big smile – oh yea- she was also differently-abled or in her terms positively-abled comes as an afterthought. Hats off to you Preeti – You mesmerize with your thoughts and action.