Ten years ago, a spinal tumour left Deepa Malik confined to a wheelchair. However, she did not lose hope and receded to her house in Ahmednagar but instead the lady took to active sports.
For the adventure category in the 11th edition of Raid De Himalayas, Deepa looks confident of conquering the entire track and reach Kargil.
Her aim is to celebrate a decade of her disability at Kargil, where her husband Col Vikram Malik was posted during the 1999 war. Multi-talented, she also learnt swimming, javelin throwing and riding a specially modified bike.
“He was in Kargil when my complications started and subsequent operations left me paralytic waist down. I would like to go and see the place and celebrate the fact that I did it despite this severe hampering,” she said.
Initially, she wanted to drive the whole route with her husband in her modified car. After being denied as she did not possess a valid driving license, she took Rakesh Diwan as her driver.
“I will now be a co-passenger in this trip with my husband but at least I will know that I can do it,” she said.
A mother of two daughters, Deepa said that her passion to excel in sports raises many eyebrows with people trying to convince her to stay at home.
“It is a sort of mixed reaction wherein first, people are awed and then they try and find the reason for this, but all I can say is that I just want to prove that being disabled is no way a disadvantage. It’s all in one’s mind,” she said.
Deepa has so far represented the country in swimming and javelin at various international meets. In 2006 FESPEC Games held in Kula Lumpur, she won silver in swimming.
After this, Deepa said she will start preparing for the World Paraolympic games being organised in Bangalore this year.
“All this has been possible due to unconditional support from my familiy,” she said.
“My daughters always ask me what I am up to next and my husband has also supported me,” she added.