Category Archives: Guest Posts

Guest Blogger: “New Beginnings” & “Uncertainty” by Sravani Ramachandran

New Beginnings

By Sravani Ramachandran

“There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on”.

Sure we all get stuck. Because of a lot of reasons, a lot of experiences that life keeps giving us. Sometimes it all gets so bad that we would just want to give up, on life. You might be asking yourself “what if this is as good as it gets?” But that’s the beauty of life. Just when you are sure that this may be it, life throws a curve ball at you. This is the decider. Whether you want to swing the bat or take the long walk back to the bench. That’s completely up to YOU!

When you decide to swing that bat, that when you realize that there’s a lot more to this life than the very little that we know of it or what we think we know of it.
We all believe that our life has to move in a certain direction. And because we believe we have given it our best, things will only get better with time. But little are we aware that life is under no obligation to give us what we expect.

Six years ago, I don’t suppose I would have ever thought I’d be doing what I am doing as of now. I was on some kind of a mission. To prove myself. Not just to the world but also to myself. Things hadn’t really turned up the way I had wanted them to. Things were not really hunky dory. So I was pushing myself. To do a lot better and reach the level that many of my counterparts had already reached, with angst. And just when I thought things were finally falling in place for me, my accident happened. It’s funny how some of us get to learn life’s lessons in the not so conventional methods. But believe me when I say this, when we learn it this way, the lessons learnt stay, forever.

Sure things have not been easy. Sure it feels awful that you are not in a position to contend in the earlier race, forget about winning. Sure it is all unsettling to chalk a future path for yourself considering the dependency that is there on others. But is there really something that can be done about what has already happened? I don’t suppose so. What has to happen will happen.

Whether or not we like it, whether or not we are prepared for it. What we can do is let bygones be bygones. And come to terms with reality. The sooner we do it the better it is. For everyone. Instead of sitting and brooding about what has happened in life, all that we have lost, we might as well sit up and look forward to what life has given us and what it has in store.

The wondrous unpredictability of life need not always be something negative. We just need to stop looking at the closed doors and try to look for the open windows and look out for life has to offer. And try to capitalize on the opportunities that life may throw at you. You might even get something your way that you perhaps hadn’t even thought of earlier. And if you were to give it some serious time and your sincere efforts, you can see that that is what will help you unfold.

That is what will keep you going. And you got to. Keep going. Keep looking at how you can get better, how you can channelize what life has bestowed upon you.

Life doesn’t always give second opportunities. But if you have been lucky enough, then make the most out of it. Things might not be as I had expected. But hey, things could have been worse. So I am just happy that I have been given this second life. To live. To explore my many interests. And be thankful for all the lovely people in my life without whom I don’t suppose I would have even survived the ordeal. Our pillars of strength will always be there. It’s up to us how we draw strength from them.

So go ahead my friends. Turn the page and enjoy all that lies ahead. Every story might have an ending, but in life, every ending has a new beginning!!

Cheers to life!!

Uncertainty

By Sravani Ramachandran

She sat there, quiet, uncertain of many a thing,
The biggest uncertainty was about what the future would bring.
She was silently fighting a battle of her own,
That fate had, at her side, just randomly thrown.
She was unsure of how to cope with this new phase,
As to how to handle, her life’s new born malaise.
She didn’t know how to go about being strong,
For she knew that it wasn’t just a phase, it was to be lifelong.
She didn’t know if she had to be practical and just get on with everything
Or if she had to be hopeful, and wait for her life’s pendulum to swing.
She wasn’t sure, why this life, the Gods had to give,
Was it because, they thought she deserved it and was strong enough to live ?

Sravani Ramachandran is a paraplegic from Bangalore, India and works at IBM India. 

Guest Blogger: “Am I Still Tall?” by Jan Scheuermann

Guest post writer Jan Scheuermann posing with an exoskeleton she moved with her mind in clinical trials at the University of Pittsburgh.

I liked being tall. Sure, it was more challenging as a kid, standing out among all my classmates and towering over most of the boys. Finding clothes that fit was difficult, but it could be done. Mom insisted I not slouch, and I did not.

As soon as I turn 21, I joined the Golden Triangle Tall Club, the Pittsburgh branch of TCI (Tall Clubs International). Finally, I stood head-to-head with other tall women, who wore high heels and showed me, through example, how elegant a tall woman could be. The tall men made me feel short; they were at least 6’2”. What a novel experience!

Soon, I loved being tall. I wore high heels when I could, found sources for clothes that not only fit, but that flattered me as a tall woman. I got attention from tall men, and I dated several of them, getting a crick in my neck when I slow-danced with them, and not minding a bit.

My husband and I met through TCI. We married, had two tall children, and still attended family-friendly tall club events. I contributed occasional humorous columns to our local tall club newsletter.

When I was 36, my legs slowly stopped working. I went from standing tall to walking a bit hunched over a cane, then a walker, then finally sitting in a wheelchair. Now, at 56, I have been a quadriplegic ( due to a weird spinal disease) for the last 15 years, unable to move below my neck. Instead of holding my head high at 6 feet with no heels, I sit 4 feet tall. Or 4 feet short.

I’ve seen the world from two separate places. On my feet, I saw over crowds, knew what was in front of me on a busy sidewalk, and saw other adults face-to-face. Except short people; them, I had to look down to. That was my only choice – I couldn’t bend my knees to talk to them. That would’ve been rude.

Now, no more seeing over crowds for me. I have no idea how busy the sidewalk is in front of me. And I look other adults straight in the stomach or chest. Although I know it’s considered rude for people to bend down to talk to me, usually I wish they would. Often, I simply cannot hear them.

Of course, I preferred being tall. Understand I’m not complaining – just commenting. It is what it is. Not only have I adjusted to life as a quad, but I’m thriving. I get around in a wheelchair that I drive with my chin, and I have a wide circle of friends and family who support and love me.

But the question remains:  Am I still tall?

I still need to buy tall clothes to fit my arms. My shoes are still size 12. But I have lost all the other perks that come with being tall

I’ve decided that I am tall in length, but not in height anymore.

I cannot stand tall,so I will sit tall. I will strive to stand tall metaphorically; to stand tall in my deeds. I choose to face life with a positive attitude, to find humor in my situation, and to be there to support my children and my loved ones when they need me.

Height can be a matter of attitude. I am tall.

Jan Scheuermann made headlines around the world when she moved a robotic arm with her mind in 2012. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband.