Gulfam Ahmed, is what we like to refer to as a “triple threat”. He’s a model, an athlete and a stand up comedian with a bachelor degree in social work. Handsome, smart, stylish and funny wrapped up into one package. You can’t ask for more than that! The RL team reached out to Gulfam for his story and here is what he had to tell us about a tumultuous journey of orthopedic impairment and his will to defy the odds and his persistence to make a name for himself…..
I had a very ordinary beginning, in a small town in a regular family. My father was a tailor in Bijnore in Uttar Pradesh in India and my parents were illiterate. My parents were very unaware of the importance of education so I started going to school only when I was eight years old, at my insistence. But I had no idea where studies could take me in life. I was always interested in looking good and all I knew was that I wanted to do well and become something in life.
There was very little awareness about polio in my family and I was infected as a child. My parents moved to Delhi seeking better treatment facilities for me. I had surgery in 2013 and prior to that I use to crawl, literally. I was able to stand for the first time with the help of calipers. Even, the doctors were quite pessimistic about my chances of standing on my legs and they had stated that I may be able to walk in only about 2 years, if at all. I proved them wrong and did so in less than 3 months, only! The emotions on the face of my mother when she saw me standing on my legs for the first time after surgery is the most cherished moment of my life. It was not a medical miracle instead it was due to my strong will and persistence to lead a normal life.
My daily life is aimed at enhancing my physical capabilities through rigorous training. I go to the gym multiple times in a day and love para power lifting. I have won more than 20 medals in bench-press and para power-lighting categories in various national tournaments over the last 10 years. For me, it is all about the drive to prove to myself that I am fully capable of doing anything.
Unfortunately, the reaction from society has been disappointing. There were days when I didn’t visit malls, go out at public places or even attend social functions as I felt embarrassed looking at the reactions of people around. Pity, sympathy and doubts were the common refrain from everyone around. It was disheartening!
As a society, we are still struggling with inclusivity and assimilation. It’s disheartening especially when you are trying your best to bring about a change. To that end, I motivate myself, and I don’t expect any words of encouragement. I don’t need external influences to motivate me as I observe people intently and try to inculcate everything good about them in my life. Motivation comes from small things in life. It’s akin to learning how to ride a bike. You fall, you get up, and you learn and move ahead.
Every day is a clean slate for me and I begin all over again. I am passionate about riding and want to create a world record for the longest ride on an assisted bike by traveling across India (approx… 1100-12000 kms). I will begin soon by traveling across Delhi, a distance of about 120-150 km. on a wheelchair, also a record. The dreams may be big, but the passion and the will to achieve them is bigger!
How do I keep myself going? By moving the milestone further and further.
Contact Gulfam at any of the following social media links:
Twitter Link – https://twitter.com/GulfamAhmd
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/gulfaamahmd/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/MrAhmd90
Google Plus – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DifferentAbilitiesGulfamAhmed
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/gulfam-ahmed-56003074/