Harshit Kudeshiya from Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, was diagnosed with Dystonia – a neurological condition marked by involuntary muscle contractions — in Class 5 but felt it the most when he did not get a writer while appearing for the examination in his first year of engineering course.
“I knew the answers but couldn’t write a word because of involuntary hand movement. I could have written them on a computer but they didn’t allow me to do that. For the first time, I felt depressed, so much so that I quit the course and returned home,” said Harshit Kudeshiya, 23, as he shared his struggle on International Day of Persons with Disability on Thursday.
Kudeshiya had dropped out of school after Class 6 and appeared for all examinations as a private candidate. He could manage to just pass the secondary examinations but was encouraged when someone told him that if he could make it to the IITs, he would end up earning Rs. 80,000 a month. That suggestion motivated him to make it to the premier tech institutes at any cost.
“You won’t believe . . . when my father passed away, I was sitting with a book before his body. That was the kind of passion I developed for studies,” he added.
The boy was a topper in his school before the disease began to manifest first in the fingers of his right hand and later spread to the entire hand, his neck, face and his left hand. His father had a small general store for a living which was shut after his death. Kudeshiya’s mother raised him and his younger brother Arjit – who also suffers from the same disorder – on earnings she made by stitching clothes.
Kudeshiya couldn’t get through to IIT but made it to Malviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, through AIEEE, in which he secured the 1,29,000th rank. But in a year-and-a-half, he quit it and returned home. “I went for a 10-day meditation course, which helped me in tackling my problem. I returned to the institute in 2013,” he said.
“I have learnt to accept myself as I am and move ahead in life,” he says, adding he knows no one will offer him a job. “I plan to do something of my work. I will open a school where disabled children will study with normal children so that they can understand each other,” he said.