Don’t let anybody tell you that you are inferior: Salesh Dipak Fernando

Salesh is one of the very few souls who never loses the smiles and keeps spreading love no matter what and who you are. The amount of positivity he spreads, especially, through his writing is impeccable and of course, he has been through a lot. He had to work hard to come to the place where he is now. Undoubtedly, he is an inspiration to everyone around.

I caught up with the man himself.

1. A few words about yourself…

I am Salesh. I am a differently-abled person affected with cerebral palsy. I was diagnosed with CP a few months after my birth. Fortunately, a corrective surgery helped me to walk with a stick. But over a period of time, I let go of the stick and began to do things on my own. It was difficult but not impossible.

2. What motivated you and how did you rise to where you are now.

The first voice of support came from my parents. They never gave up on me. And then there was my English teacher who always believed that I would do well. While I was growing up I was a more of a social outcast. That rejection and isolation was the best motivation that I could ever get to do well in life.

3. I always felt there is a gap between what people with special abilities need and how it is different from others’ perspective.

For a long time, the public has always looked at a differently-abled person with sympathy. As long as people sympathize there will always be a gap between the actual needs and the perceived needs of a differently-abled person. The most simple thing that can be done is to teach our kids how to be inclusive of a very early age. The government machinery needs to do a lot more than what is already being done for the differently-abled people are the biggest minority in the country with unique individual needs.

4. You were in a corporate company for years before taking up a career with writing. Take us through the journey.

I have worked in corporate companies and MNC’s for almost 10 years. Though the companies promise inclusion there is still a hesitation in giving higher responsibilities to differently-abled persons. I was denied promotion n number of times though I was more than capable. The only reason given to me was my supposed physical flaw. That is one of the reasons I opted for a career switch.

5. How writing has helped you and from where it all started

Writing as a career was more of an accident. My English teacher was the person to discover my writing talent. But I never nurtured it or took it seriously. Years later I took up writing to cope up with the death of my father. It opened up a new world and broke all the physical and emotional barrier I had as a differently-abled person. People were able to connect with my words and till date writing is the best thing to ever happen to me.

6. How a job you like has changed you as a person.

For the first time in my life, I feel secure for I love the work that I do. It has helped me explore all the different avenues within the writing. I am a lot more relaxed and happy than I was in my 9 to 5 job. More importantly, my peers treat me the way I deserve to be treated and trust my writing skill. I am currently a blogger/ sub-editor in Awesome Machi and it is the best job that I have ever had so far.

7. If there is something you would love to tell to people with special abilities

Don’t let anybody tell you that you are inferior. Live life on your terms for you have only one chance to be someone’s inspiration.