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Wheel of fortune

VISHNUPRIYA BHANDARAM
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People When life gave him lemons, Aditya Mehta squeezed out all the juice and made the best lemonade

Determination and passionAditya MehtaPHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL
Determination and passionAditya MehtaPHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL

At his residence in Begumpet, sporting a green T-shirt that reads ‘HBC Aditya’, Aditya Mehta walks about hurrying to make us feel comfortable. “Please have some tea,” he urges. He turns off the television. He makes a few calls and fixes appointments to go to the prosthetic supervisor and the bike mechanic in preparation for his big day: his cycling trip from Hyderabad to Bangalore. Charting a distance of more than 500 kilometers on a bicycle isn’t easy, especially on a prosthetic leg; “I’ll do it in three days,” he says brimming with confidence. Just last week he rode to Nizamabad and Warangal. He also rode from Visakhapatnam to Araku. “Twenty-five people had signed up for the cycle ride to Araku, only 12 people were able to finish it and I am glad to say I was one of them. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment,” says Aditya. His determination has led him to accomplish a Limca record like travelling 100 kilometers in merely five hours. “I can do it in a lot less time,” he grins.

An entrepreneur working in the garment and construction industries, Aditya used to live a rather sedentary life. “I was quite lazy,” he laughs. All that changed when Aditya got hit by a bus seven years ago and the front wheel of the bus ran over his thigh. The doctors couldn’t save his leg, it had to be amputated from above the knee. When most people succumb to the pain, Aditya Mehta stood in the face of misfortune unperturbed. “I saw myself a few days after the accident and it shocked me and I thought, arey pair nahi hai (oh my! I don’t have a leg) but I got over it,” he says. In just a few months after the accident he began walking with the help of a prosthetic leg. What started as a one-kilometre route gradually became a six-kilometere walk everyday. During one of these walks, Aditya chanced upon a Hyderabad Bicycling Club hoarding and felt bad that he would perhaps never be able to cycle. “It really affected me because I loved cycling. I asked a cousin if I could ride his cycle. He refused at first but I reasoned that at the most if I fell, I’d get a few scratches,” he says. He rode for a kilometre because it was just too tough to balance the bicycle. An exercise routine soon turned into passion and he has found great support from the Hyderabad Bicycling Club. “I was so happy that I rode that I just went and bought a bike and rode with dedication,” he smiles. “No one showed me sympathy and that’s why I recovered easily. My dad just said that God had given me a second chance to live,” says Aditya. He is now training for the World Paralympics. “I am also doing this to motivate others like me. I don’t want them to lose hope. People shouldn’t look at these as misfortunes but as propellers for a better future,” he says. Aditya gives out a word of advice, “Always wear your helmet, I never used to but wore it the day of the accident because I wanted to show off my Harley Davidson helmet and it ended up saving my life!”

VISHNUPRIYA BHANDARAM

I am also doing this to motivate others like me. I don’t want them to lose hope.

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