Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wheels to Fly!

Over the previous weekend we had been to “Nammura Habba”, a two day gala event celebrating the essence of Karavali or Coastal Karnataka culture, from its food and cuisine to folk arts and music. Though this is the third edition of the festival, it’s the first time we attended an event like this that had a huge turnout of Karavali population or people from the Coastal region settled in Bangalore along with the attendance of many true-blue Bangaloreans.  Though Bangalore has been home to me throughout my life, it felt great to revisit my roots and join in the celebration of its unique specialties and imports. Be it the language, culture, or cuisine,  as they can take a person out of Karavali but you can take Karavali out of the person!

Besides a number of cultural and musical events, the festival also saw many famous people from Coastal Karnataka being felicitated and we were delighted to see Padmashri Malathi Holla, India’s pride at the Para-Olympics. It is not very often that we get to read about a famous personality and then see them in person…..isn’t it? No sooner had we finished reading Tulika’s “Wings to fly” than  we happened to see Malathi Holla on stage and got hear her story of how she braved her disability to reach for the skies, in her own words, all thanks to “Nammura habba” !!

"Wings to Fly" by Sowmya Rajendran and pictures by Arun Kaushik  presents her remarkable story in an interesting light that is sure enthuse and inspire young minds.  Little Malathi was like any other girl, loved sweets that she stuffed into the pocket of her red skirt, or couldn’t wait to dig her teeth into the ripe mangoes that had fallen from the tree, or wanted to run behind the chicks in her yard, except that she had to do all of those while being in a wheel chair. Malathi had suffered a polio attack when she was about a year old which took the strength away from her legs. Despite undergoing a number of surgeries and living in a medical center for as many as fifteen years, Malathi continued to be wheelchair bound. But that didn't bind her spirits in any manner, and Malathi found herself loving the movement exercises advised by her doctors. That's when Malathi began participating in many sports events for the disabled and the rest is history! Read on as Malathi went on to scale new heights in the field of sports,  including an interesting anecdote how she even raced in a men's event and won!  With a sensitized narrative accompanied by lively illustrations, this book beautifully and vividly brings out the inspiring life of Malathi Holla, who is a living example of how one can brave all odds by sheer determination, resilience and courage…with wheels and willpower like Malathi’s who needs wings to fly!

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