Who says you can’t dance without legs? Or play sports? Or lead a full, successful and happy life? Kalpesh has proved that you don’t need a perfect body to achieve your dreams.
Kalpesh Chaudhary was just five months old when he developed a severe fever and polio took away his ability to use both his legs. This could have easily devastated anyone. But not this Surat boy!
Kalpesh says his disability only made him stronger. He did not let it stop him from achieving what he was determined to do. Though he could not study after Class 11 due to his family’s financial condition, he used his natural inclination towards business to run a successful diamond trading company that today has an annual turnover of about Rs.10 crores.
“My family always supported me. They never said I could not do something. I travel alone everywhere for business and have also single handedly taken care of my entire family after my father’s death,” says Kalpesh.
Kalpesh’s father, who had started the small diamond trading business, died when Kalpesh was just 18.
Still a young boy, Kalpesh didn’t know what to do with his life. He then took control of his deceased father’s business, which wasn’t doing too well, and transformed it into a company that is making many crores 14 years later.
The company has just two employees since diamond trading doesn’t require much staff, says Kalpesh.
“We are not into diamond manufacturing and polishing, which requires many more people. Diamond trading requires just one person who delivers the diamonds to the buyers. I study the market, do my research and then finalise when and to whom the diamonds should be sold, and from where they should be purchased,” adds Kalpesh.
He now manages his entire business over the phone and has carved an impressive place in the market for himself, with many big jewellery companies as his clients across the country.
Now successful and happily married, Kalpesh had to struggle a lot on the personal front too after his father’s death. He had to support his siblings – get his sisters married and help his brother find a career and settle down.
Love blossomed in his life when he met his life partner Deepali through an NGO. Deepali is a graduate and also suffers from polio.
They have two sons who are currently in school.
“I think marriage and a normal life are not given much importance in the lives of people with disabilities. They somehow take a backseat. This should not be the case. Everyone should get a chance to lead a regular life in spite of his or her disability,” says Kalpesh.
Highly motivated to help others like himself, Kalpesh started a WhatsApp group for people with disabilities and plans to start a Facebook page and website as well.
Kalpesh is also interested in sports. In fact, he was one of the finalists at the Mr. Wheelchair event in Mumbai in August 2015.
He is also a regular performer at garba events in Gujarat.
Asked what keeps him so motivated and positive, he says: “All one needs is dedication and strong willpower because people will bring you down. They will demotivate you. They will sympathize with you but talk behind your back. But you have to stay strong and keep moving.”