New Delhi: Difficult in rectifying answers underneath a roof with a fan attached or finding a homemade meal boring, craving for expensive long strips of potatoes deep-fried? 27-year old, Narayan Thakur has got a story for you and the solution is right into his story.
Narayan Thakur achieved the near-impossible target of winning the Gold medal ( men’s 100m T35) at Asian Para Games. The achievement brings joy but the struggle behind it raise questions on those living life with privileges and failing to accomplish.
Narayan Thakur was born with a disability or a gift? but he was diagnosed with left-sided hemiparesis, a condition in which a patient suffers paralysis of the left side of the body after a stroke of the brain.
At the age of eight, he lost his father due to a brain tumor and a severe heart condition who used to work in a plastic factory. It was difficult for Narayan’s mother to look after her three children. That’s when Narayan was sent to an orphanage in Daryaganj, New Delhi, as he used to get food to eat and a chance to study. Thakur who was always interested in sports had to leave the orphanage just to fulfill his passion for sports.
“I wanted to play cricket, but somehow it did not happen. I left the orphanage so that I could look for other alternatives in sports,” said Thakur
His struggle took another dramatic turn. After leaving the orphanage in 2010, his family suffered a cruel blow again.
“That was the time when the jhuggis (small huts) we were staying in Samaypur Badli were demolished. We had no option but to shift to a nearby area. We faced severe financial problems. That’s when I started cleaning DTC buses and work as a waiter at a small roadside thelas (stalls) to make ends meet.” Thakur expressed his struggle with a lump.
The disabled and mighty spirited Narayan Thakur still didn’t give up on his ambition to pursue sports. He got his chance when somebody advised him to practice athletics at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
“I was excited. But the problem was I did not have enough money to commute from my home to the stadium, as I have to change three buses to reach the desired destination. I tried to shift base to Panipat. That also became difficult as I cannot afford spending 40 to 50 rupees on bus tickets. That’s when I decided to shift to Thyagaraj Stadium.”
Thakur spends his day’s training in the stadium and nights, cleaning buses and working as a waiter. That’s when the nights of his struggle soon became the dawn of his success and Narayan Thakur was all set to shine brightly like a sun, above all. Thakur began to impress all with his performance in some international competitions, which paved his way for his participation in the Jakarta Games.
“I am happy to have won the gold for India in Jakarta. I am the only Indian to have won the athletics 100m gold in an Asiad or Asian Para Games,” he said with pride.
Thakur who doesn’t have a job and helps his mother run a paan/gutkha shop is now confident and believes that his life will change for the good. He was given a cheque of Rs. 40 lakhs by the PM during a felicitation programme and hopes to get some financial reward from the Delhi Government.
“I will build a house for my family with all the money and spend the rest on my training.”
A man with a disability, a scarred past, and lanes of struggle embodied with thorns of poverty, still accomplished to bring pride and honor to his family. What’s your reason for not trying?