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  • Hasitha Illa

My trip to Manali – A dream, a lesson and a better me

I have never been a travel enthusiast. Going out was okay but not going somewhere didn’t upset me either. But then, I have had a dream – to celebrate my birthdays in the ocean, snow and forest. So when a friend offered to take me to a snowey vacay in Manali, all I could say was yay!

When I was planning the trip, the only concern that I had was money. I had to take care of all the expenses from flights to stay to food and this time, it was all on me. But then, I heard people talking (bitching)…

Oh she’s a disabled girl so how can she travel alone?

She’s going alone with a guy? Log kya kahenge?

Well, for the first question, Indigo (I flew with them and I love their disability assistance) did help me a lot. I flew to Chandigarh alone, and my friend picked me up at the airport and then we reached Manali by road. The place I stayed was accessible and I managed (with a little difficulty) thanks to the sweet people who helped me during the trip.

The second question, people who mattered had no objection because they were concerned about my happiness and safety so the rest could BEEP BEEP…

And yeah, there were comments that I shouldn’t go on the trip because my sister would feel bad! LOL to that! It was my sister Megha who sent me on a college trip so I could experience the things she missed. So if my family is ok, opinions and scorns of others shouldn’t matter.

Coming to the trip, well I would be lying if I say that things went very smooth. I did face some problems but I got to open my eyes to the beautiful snow-coated mountains on my birthday. I sat in the balcony looking at the beautiful white flakes dripping down the heavens. My friend helped me do things that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I rode the snowmobile and went up the valley to capture the natural beauty. I spent 3 days without my mom’s cooking but the person who came back to Hyderabad was more independent, grateful and happy.

From the vacation, I got to learn two things –

“Travelling in a wheelchair isn’t a good idea” is utter bullshit. It is always you! You should want to do it and a way will come running to you. Be it travelling, painting, cooking or even dancing, the possibilities are limitless; all you need is to tame your mind. Log kahenge and that’s their job! Proving them wrong is yours! So do your job and show them how it’s done.

The second thing here, financial independence! Remember, you could have dreams for free, but you need cash to fulfil them. Financial independence is important, and very much so for disabled people. It gives you the much needed confidence so nobody else takes over the wheel.

So hey, I am Sahithi, 29 years old but I believe I am 18 with the maturity of a 30 year old. There are two things I love the most – eating and writing! I eat all time but I am always stuck in thoughts on what to write so I start eating again. And yeah, I am on a wheelchair since 2016 due to Ataxia. I am trying to be active on insta with occasional poor puns. You could get in touch. (CLICK HERE)



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