Blade runner Shalini Saraswati addresses the first Manipal Marathon Lecture2 min read
MANIPAL: The first edition of Manipal Marathon Lecture organised by Manipal Marathon took place on November 23 at the Melaka Manipal Medical College (MMMC) campus in Manipal. Quad amputee and blade runner Shalini Saraswati was the speaker at the moderated interview styled lecture, followed by an interactive session.
Shalini began the talk by explaining how she contracted a rare bacterial infection known as Rickettsial while vacationing in Cambodia. The disease led to multiple organ failures and she eventually lost her right arm. Later, she had to amputate her three other limbs because of the infection, prior to which she was bed-ridden for two years. Shalini was motivated by her coach B Y Aiyappa to pursue running as a sport after she received her prosthetic blades.
During the talk, while talking about her experience of having completed the World Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) 10-kilometre marathon, Shalini exclaimed, “Being able to run for 10 kilometres was really pushing my body to its extremes and when I was able to accomplish that, it got me to derive a sense of worth from it. It sanctified me being alive.”
Various topics were discussed at the interactive event, one of which was her blog, ‘soulsurvivedintact’. She recollected her memory of crying when she wrote her first blog and how it was therapeutic for her mental health.
When Shalini was asked by The Manipal Journal about how she came to terms with and got comfortable with her prosthetics, she explained, “The transition took about three to four months. There are challenges because you have to learn everything all over again; you forget what it is like—you walk, you go back to the basics.” She also stated how it is about what the person wants to do about their prosthetics that gets them through the challenges. “There are no shortcuts; you will have to work hard to get back on your feet, literally,” Shalini added.
The zestful session was concluded by Shalini laying emphasis on the importance of building strong connections with people and having good friends, as she thanked her friends—some of who were in the audience—for accepting all her hardships as their own.
Shalini Saraswati is now training to run at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Featured Image Courtesy: Anush Shetty
Edited by: Disha Acharya