Disclaimer: If you are too bored to read this, scroll down and watch the video. That is more important!
As I look at my right leg, right now, I feel how important a body part it is for me. Losing it takes down a shiver down my spine. The thought is chilling. What could be more horrendous than that. Losing a body part is not a big thing maybe, imagining living a life without it is.
What could you do if you lose a body part? Sulk in pain? Make your life miserable to an extent that you eventually want to kill yourself? Live your life as if every second is like a year? Or maybe, possibly, jump 1.89 meters high in the air, flip across the hurdle and fall on the sponge mattress, only to get up to a standing ovation from the crowd, to constant cheer, to applause. It is so easy to write this down on paper. This whole achievement-saga. But how difficult is it to replicate this performance in real?
Maybe Mariyappan Thangavelu can answer this. Yes, I am sure he can.
For the uninitiated, Mariyappan has clinched a gold medal in Paralympics 2016. For India. I put India in the end because here country is not important. Not important even is Mariyappan’s right leg, which is not there. Important is his smile at the end of the final jump. That smile that comes on his face, reflecting the fact that he has almost got the medal for his country. And then it fades away. He sips water from his bottle and it must tastes sweet.
I am his fan, already. Yes, for his game. But more for that smile. For that smile tells a lot about the man he is. You could be amazingly rich one day, you could have all the fame, but it is difficult to sport that smile. Mariyappan does not have a leg, he must have had broken when he lost it. Oh, he was just five. Maybe he could have thought that’s how he will have to live. His mother, too, who sold vegetables and then worked as maid. But Mariyappan knew he had that smile inside. That innocent, smile which exists. That smile which is worth the gold, maybe more than that.
How could someone smile like that? Even after losing a right leg? Even after losing a father at a small age. And this loss was even not real. To know that your father exist for you but he is still not there when you need him. He had abandoned you.
When they tell me that her mother works day-in and day-out to see him play sports. Because that makes him smile. That makes him laugh. That makes him happy. It is then that you know from where the smile comes from. You know how you could jump 1.89 meters high in the air and win a gold medal at Paralympics.