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A heroic battle against adversity, prejudice

Kolkata: When cerebral palsy patient Malini Chib, who has spent 44 years trapped in a wheelchair, decided to pen down her moments of pain and triumph in a 50,000-word autobiography, she had no other option but do it with only one finger in her hand.

Aptly titled, ‘One little Finger', the recently-released 200-page memoir was typed by Mumbai-based Chib with her left index finger on a laptop over a period of two years.

Defying all odds to emerge victorious in spite of the crippling disability and an indifferent society, she learnt to type with her little finger and speak through a light-writer owing to a speech-defect.

The cognitive functions of her brain remain unimpaired, even as cerebral palsy, a neurological condition similar to an adult stroke, made her body movement and speech extremely difficult ever since birth.

The book recounts Malini's story of a heroic battle against adversity, prejudice, stigmas and stereotypes against her and others who are disabled.

“The book has been the most proudest moment of my life,” Chib exulted during a programme organised here.

Driving force

Her mother Mithu Alur, who has been the main driving force behind her daughter's success, said, “Its been the happiest part of my life as well. It was a very big thing for her to write it down as she has always been very talkative and expressive”.

After failing to find inclusive atmosphere for the disabled in India, the family had taken her to the UK, where she did a double master's degree - one in women's studies from London University and the other one in library sciences and information management from the London Metropolitan University.

She now works as a senior events manager at Oxford Bookstore at Mumbai.

In the city to release the book at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, Malini said there is more to her life than disability.

A ‘party girl', she has been to all the pubs in London.

“I love partying everyday and I love my drink in the evening. And I also love shopping for clothes,” she said.

Social networking

A regular on social networking sites, Malini lives a tech—savvy life as she keeps chatting with her friends on the Internet.

“With the Internet, we interact easily,” she said while recalling how she faced the indifference of her classmates and others from her age-group.

“People don't invite me for parties or at their home.

So that made me feel rejected and isolated and therefore, the need for social communication is more,” rued Malini.

What has also made her life difficult, besides the apathy of the Indian medical and education system, is the inaccessibility of many buildings on an electric wheelchair.

“It feels demeaning and dejected each time a building is inaccessible to me,” she said, adding that she is also an activist running ADAPT (Able Disabled All People Together), a rights group that promotes inclusion of the disabled in society.- PTI

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