Paulami Patel's story is one full of courage and willpower. During one of her vacations at her Hyderabad home, she faced a tragedy that took a part of her right hand away. While it took her time to come to terms with the situation post a long ICU stay, she decided not to let the accident define her.
"Nothing can beat destiny, but I'm always ready to put up a fight," she says. In this conversation with SheThePeople, artist Paulami Patel recalls her life-changing accident, shares her story of willpower, and asserts why she will always work towards defining her own narrative.
Paulami Patel: Story of Courage
"Growing up, I had a regular childhood with friends and family. I was a single child and grew up in Mumbai with my parents, but since my father’s whole family was in Hyderabad, I used to spend my summer vacations there.
The day of my accident was like any other day. After lunch, my aunt and uncle retired to their room to rest, and my cousins and I got busy playing around the house. We found a rod, attached utensils from our kitchen set to its end, and took it to the balcony to pretend we were fishing.
Hyderabad is notoriously famous for high-tension electric wires. I accidentally lost the grip of that rod, and it touched the wire running outside the balcony. I only remember screaming in pain, and then the world went black.
We I came to my senses, I was in ICU. I couldn’t understand what had happened. I had suffered from 80 percent burns, and my right hand was completely burned. I was in the ICU for a week, and once my condition was stable, the doctors started my treatment. When they examined my right hand, they found that Gangrene had set in, so they had to amputate it.
I spent about six months completely bedridden. My left hand was not as badly hurt as my right one, but it was still very bad. It was deformed due to the electric shock. It took almost a year and about 50 surgeries for doctors to create my hand again.
I had always been an independent child, but this accident made me utterly dependent on others. After months of treatments, getting back to everyday life was hard. But I persevered. I learnt to walk again. I had to learn to write with my prosthetic hand.
Throughout this journey, my parents were my rock. They pushed me to do things on my own. When the stares from people got to me, and I refused to go back to college, my parents encouraged me to face the world and made me realise that my limbs were just a part of me and not my identity. Slowly I gained confidence in myself. I studied hard and did an MBA in my family business. It took me a long time to embrace my situation, but today, I love myself and refuse to let the world affect me. I am a survivor, and I’m celebrating my life every day!"