Book Excerpt | Gifted
A recent book brings together the testimonies of differently abled people from across India who have risen above all odds. Mohammad Sharif, the musician with one arm, tells his story to the authors
My early life was spent in Nanpara, a forgotten little village in the heart of Uttar Pradesh where I lived with my family of five siblings and my parents. If there is one thing that I remember of those early years, it is the stark poverty that stared us in the face every single day. My parents were illiterate and slaved endlessly for various landowners, whose fields they worked in so that they could feed their six children. And because they were away for most of the day, my siblings and I spent the days with our grandparents who lived in the neighbourhood. Looking back, I think that the poverty and the constant shortage of even the most basic things never made a difference in our lives. We were too young to notice that we did not have anything much in life other than the rationed-out portions of two meals a day. But even so, I spent my days happily running around in the fields with my friends. Studies were only a small part of our existence and we went to school only because we had to.