Self-motivation and Determination: Story of Shalini Saraswathi


Self-motivation and Determination: Story of Shalini Saraswathi

Dear Sehpaathians,

We begin of with our range of inspirational stories of people who have some magnificent achievements despite hardships and showed us a way on how we can overpower the difficulties and get successful. In this series we will be covering over 20 stories from different areas and achievements.

Shalini SaraswathiToday’s Story is of Shalini Saraswathi, A Banglaorean, who lost her limbs in year 2013 after being infected by a rare bacterial infection. Had it not been Shalini, it would have been easier for to take a route of self-pity and paint oneself into a dark corner. Back on her feet after a two-year struggle, the new and improved Shalini 2.0 — as she prefers to call herself. Shalini had a tremendous determination and she is back attempting complete the Open Run 10K Run at the TCS World 10K. She was once a passionate Bharatnatayam Dancer

What Actually Happened: 

It was in 2012 that Shalini, employed with a BPO firm, and her husband Prashanth discovered that they were going the family way. “It was our fourth anniversary and we had just returned from a holiday in Cambodia when I discovered that I was pregnant,” Shalini said.

“I think that was the peak of my career and then the good news, everything was going fine.”

The happiness lasted for barely a few months as Shalini contracted rickettsial atmos — a rare bacteria — which resulted not only in a miscarriage but went on to cause damage as she saw her limbs rot.

“It all started with a fever. Initially we thought it was the just a pregnancy-related issue and I would be fine in a day or two. But that didn’t happen.

“A blood test revealed that my (blood) platelet count was really low. They suspected it to be dengue and I was admitted to hospital on March 27, 2012. I was there in the ward for a day and then they shifted me to the ICU. And that’s my last memory,” she continued.

Shalini suffered multi-organ failure that rendered her unconscious for the next four days. Her situation was so bad that the doctors had given up hope on her survival. “They were not sure if I could survive. But the adamant person I am, I decided that I wanted to live more and I woke up on April 5, my birthday.”

Though Shalini woke up, the failure of her internal organs meant that her baby couldn’t survive. And if that was not enough of a shock, she soon realised that her limbs had slowly stopped responding.

“For a month from then, I could see my limbs progressively rot. I could get a stench from it. I had to get the rotten skin cut off from the body once a week,” she added without letting her smile waver one bit.

While Shalini tried ayurveda — something she believes helped in limiting the damage — nothing could stop the worst from happening as by September 2013, she had her limbs amputated. She immediately started with prosthetics and walked for the first time in two years on December 31.

It was just the beginning of what she describes as a new life but problems persisted. Shalini wanted to ensure she remained fit but she couldn’t go to gyms, due to their restrictions.

“Thing weren’t easy as many didn’t know what to do with a person like me,” she said. “It was then that we met coach (Aiyappa) through a common friend. Though he hadn’t worked with someone like me before, his willingnesss to include me along with other trainees gave me hope and in April, 2015 I started training. It was tough at first but I persisted.”

Aiyappa is now keen that his trainee takes a shot at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020. “If she is willing I don’t see what would stop her for being on the Tokyo bound flight,” said the former quartermiler.

But well before Tokyo comes the business of World 10K. With her will to fight burning bright, Shalini is sure to be there, standing out among the thousands, thanks to her big heart.

Team Sehpaathi feels proud to share her excellent Story. We are hopeful that our team meets her soon at Bangalore. We wish her good luck for the future events.

Salutes from TEAM SEHPAATHI. Hat’s Off…