Life is a bitter-sweet symphony. Every single day we learn about someone new whose story inspires us to breathe and to move forward in life. Daily Icons had an exclusive opportunity to explore one such individual who is contained with positive energy and optimism. Sourav Gupta, the Brand Ambassador of La Intimo, has shared his story about stepping into stardom despite all the odds.
Sourav was born and brought up in the city of joy, Kolkata. As every other regular school lad, he was naughty, mischievous and he used to get himself into trouble all the time. At the same time, he loved to play cricket and aspired to be a cricketer. But there was an incident that took place nine years back, a swimming pool diving accident and he broke his neck bone which left him paralyzed for the rest of his life, below his neck.
“But then it gave me a lot of pain, a lot of suffering but I didn’t give up, because I have learned something in life, is that Jeena kya Jeevan se Haarke. Point is, I have tried a lot of stuff when I was injured. I have failed. I fear failure like everybody does. But then that doesn’t mean you stop trying. Just keep trying till the time you succeed. Fearing failure is absolutely alright but then failing without trying is not acceptable. So I have kept trying in my life and that’s the reason I am here now where I am. This is the reason I have never given up.
” Sourav’s positive vibe would make you feel refreshed even in a midsummer’s afternoon. It was inspiring to see him pulling himself together so well, even though such incident often leads individuals to fall into a spiral of depression. His words against our curiosity has shed light upon the issue.
“Not yet (have I suffered chronic depression), and there’s a lot of reasons to it. Firstly, maybe, when I got injured I was fifteen. I was a child and might be I didn’t know what depression was actually. That’s the reason may be I faced no such thing because I was careless and carefree and I was like nothing happened, its okay. Then again support from family, friends, and everybody around me were tremendous and never let me felt that something was wrong with me.
” Sourav always aspired to be a cricketer but life had different plans for him. After the injury, he was even unable to open his fingers to hold a bat or throw a ball. He lost four years in academia. To engage in his father’s business was his last option. Sourav talked about his father and how decided to pursue modeling as his career.
“I always wanted to play cricket. But then after this injury I came to know I cannot walk ever again in my life. For nine years I have known that I can’t again, probably, that means I cannot play cricket again. I cannot represent my country. I had to do something with my life. I lost four years in studies and I graduated this year. When I was 20/21 that’s when I started asking my dad, what should I do in my life? I said, well I have started college now and finish it in three years. But I need to do something, I cannot sit at home. And I had no interest in my dad’s business. So my dad one day recommended me that, you know, why don’t you try modeling? You love buying clothes, you are into fashion, so why don’t you try it? That’s when I took this up as a challenge that, well, I will do this. Since then I have never looked back. It is my dad who told me to do this.
” To climb the ladder of success from the very bottom is not a cakewalk. It was no different for him as well to move ahead in an orthodox society. He mentioned the struggle of Muniba Mazari who is suffering from a similar condition. He talked about the people who held his hands in his journey.
“After the injury, my situation was like I couldn’t even pick up a handkerchief by myself. I haven’t taken a bath for three months I guess, I didn’t know how to wear clothes, I had no idea how to live my life in that situation. That’s when I was taken to Delhi for my treatment in the Indian Spinal Injury Center. That’s a special hospital for spinal chord injury patients. That’s where I learned how to live my life in the situation. Since then I have never looked back. People who helped my life, of course, my family, my friends, the lady who organized the interview and there are a lot of people. But these are the special people I’d like to thank and I know that I have them with me throughout my life. I can just rely on them and move ahead. It’s not about the society, it’s about what I want.
” Sourav has announced the Brand Ambassador for La Intimo, a premium intimate wear brand, last December in Indian Intimate Fashion Week, season 2. Sourav told us about where the journey began.
“Basically it all started from a short film that was based on my life. People started liking my videos and that’s how it all started.” On his experience with La Intimo he said, “I cannot literally describe it in words. It was a feeling which was out of the world. I was praised by the famous people when I was launched in Indian Intimate FashionWeek season 2. The fabulous people are praising me for what I’m doing now. The experience made me realized that, why do we have to be treated differently? We are differently-abled and that is fine but we do everything that normal people does. We just do it differently, that’s all. It has been fantastic with La Intimo and I’m planning to keep working with them.
” He mentioned Shah Rukh Khan and Sourav Ganguly are true inspirations for him. In his own words, “Those are among the few people I look up to as an inspiration or idol. Those people are self-made men. They are talented and they pursued what they wanted to do in their lives. I want the same, to be an inspiration to people. I wish to ear the same respect all by myself and I believe in me that I have the ability to do so.
” Being different comes with a price, whether you are a celebration or your attributes are rather uncommon among the norm. The unwanted attention often makes those individuals self-conscious. Sourav has his self-confidence and he is unstoppable.
“There are thousands of people and I cannot control them. But the point is I’m never stressed out. If there is some unwanted attention, I feel like I am a celebrity (smiles). People paying attention towards me. But those people don’t even matter to me. All those people that matters, my family, my friends, the closed ones, they never treat me like that. They never make me feel that I am differently-abled. That’s the main reason I can focus on what I want to achieve without having any doubt in me.
” He talked more about his friends and family who helped him establish his self-confidence. “In life, to be stable professionally or personally, it is like being a chair. A chair has four legs, and if any leg is broken it will fall. For me, the four legs are my family, my friends, my love and my career. The other three are stable, I guess, and my career will get stable with time as I have started working towards it. And sooner or later I will succeed in this. That’s when I know I’ successful and the chair is comfortable.
“ Sourav was asked about his future plans. He has set specific goals to step into his future. He told the Daily Icons more about what he is looking for in near future, “My next plan is to take part in the Mr. Wheelchair India contest, which happens in Mumbai basically in the month of October. And I have started working towards it, eating healthy. I started working out as much as I can to stay fit. Once I take part and win it, that will be a new beginning of my life.
” It is a different experience to see the world through his eyes. Life seems more colorful despite all the bitterness. We asked him to say a few words to the people who are struggling to get themselves out of unfortunate situations.
“Everybody has to face challenges in their lives, maybe disability or anything. You need to be positive, you need to believe in yourself that you can do it. Once you start thinking that you can conquer anything, if you are positive through a hard time, anything is possible. And the ones who are depression, ask them to meet me (smiles).”