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"Cycles of hope"
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     Biju V Thankappan, hailing from Ernakulam, is a proud survivor of muscular dystrophy. He recalls how during the initial days of his malady, he almost gave up on life. He experienced seclusion and ostracism during the time and he was extremely unmotivated to explore and access opportunities.

Although he was shackled to the four walls of his house then, he was eventually convinced by friends and family to rebuild his life. It was during this juncture of hopelessness, that Saji, a coordinator at Palliative care entered Biju’s life. Under his influence, Biju learnt to embrace his true potential and explore his talents in music and acting. Today, 25 years after the onset of muscular dystrophy, Biju V Thankappan is an active member of Thanal and has conducted more than 200 orchestras.

     Interactions with other persons with disabilities have opened Biju’s eyes to worse sufferings in the world. He learnt to be less harsh on himself and he picked up his life from where he had left it. With boosted self-confidence and with renewed zeal, Biju started for himself a new beginning. His friendship with other similar people at Thanal gave him the courage to view life from a different, more positive angle.

     Among the list of his achievements, is his selection for the play called Chaya. Unfortunately, he could not take part in the play due to his faulty wheelchair. However, he is contented that he got more opportunities to act. He has by now, participated in countless theatre performances. Biju remembers his flair for acting that was evident right from childhood.

     Biju expresses immense gratitude towards his family and friends who provided him with unwavering support and inspiration in his journey forward. Echoing numerous other artists with disabilities, Biju too criticises the societal reception of the talents of persons with disabilities. He laments that even today the society adopts a regressive stance against such people. Their talents are always underplayed and they are considered incompetent. Society assumes that persons with disabilities are unable to undertake challenges and risks.

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     Society is obligated to create a favourable environment for artists like him, Saji observes. He also advices fellow artists with disabilities to not get demotivated by all this criticism, and instead to consider these hurdles as stepping stones towards success.