Waking to the alarm was no longer a habit for Ankita. More than the alarm clock, it was the body clock that was more accurate, making sure she was up fifteen minutes before the alarm did its duty. The 5:00 am stillness was tranquillity to her. It was her favourite time of the day and she did not want to waste even a second being sloppy or dilly-dallying on whether or not to quit the warmth of the quilt.
She freshened up and slid her feet into the snug-fitting new trainers that had been demanding her attention for long. The specially designed trainers were extraordinary because they were meant to cater to differently-abled, larger than life people like her.
Yes …..She had begun to accept the truth which her athletic mind had evaded for long. Yes…..she was differently-abled…..not because she had lost one foot but because she had fought to live and emerge a winner from the trauma.
The trail of thoughts never left her easily….she smiled to herself snugly covering her neck with the beautifully knitted woollen scarf, a gift from her mentor, her friend, her younger sister. The scarf was warm with memories, love and a promise…the promise to never give up.
“Oh! Come on now Ankita!”. “Stop getting emotional and overcome with self-pity.”
No, No…this wasn’t a second or third person calling out to Ankita. It was her conscious nudging her…to let go of the thoughts and get out of the door. A pleasantly chilly morning awaited her. The jogging track had been longing for her presence. The familiar faces had longed to acknowledge her blazing smile and a captivating spirit of sportsmanship.
No sooner that she stepped on to the green track in the park, Ankita felt her apprehensions and agonising past fade away. Rousing applause broke her reverie of thoughts. It was the group of Octogenarians whom she had inspired to form an exercise club in the locality.
“Come on beta, what are you waiting for? Just do it.” The cheering grew louder and so did the applause as she broke into a winning sprint.
“The slight limp would stay for a while. There is nothing to worry about. It will get better as you resume your exercise routine”, Dr Avinash Chaudhary’s words echoed in her ears once she had regained breath. He had been encouraging, helping her balance on the prosthetic foot.
From that moment, it had taken her two years to come to terms with the way the almost fatal accident had changed her life from being a national level star athlete to a depressed and detested patient. Her younger sister, Chetna had been her rock through this difficult time. Chetna’s strength and immortal belief in the phrase, “don’t bother whether you succeed or fail, your job is to just march on” had pulled Ankita through the dark phase of life.
Today, from where she stood, she only looked forward to new days filled with warmth and sunshine. Her tryst with death and beyond edged her to finally pen down the Prologue to the book she had been contemplating, “Knock Them Down”. The story from falling to rising up. A story that would not be a sad story of life knocked down by tragedy but the other way round! “Wow”, she smiled. “Chetna was right”. The title itself was the fruit punch that pushes me to pick up the pen and march forward.
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