Fashion is an Attitude

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What happens when you’re a feisty 29-year-old who has a movement disorder, yet fashion, food and the arts take center stage in your life? “I’m not attempting to portray a negative image of living with cerebral palsy. Honesty is vital and I do not wish to create a rosy image because that would be wrong,” says Bindiya Farswani. By Sharon Carvalho

What is a day in your life?

I begin my day at 7:30 am and finally rest at about 10:30pm. Between that time I work with a physiotherapist, network with friends and family, attend art classes and come to the rescue of anyone that needs my help. I’m a huge foodie so I explore new restaurants for a quick bite to eat with my neighbours and friends. I also cajole my
mum to try new recipes every chance I get and meal times become ideal family time. I also enjoy catching the first day, first show of new films. And if the mood is right, I pen down narratives and quotes to put on my blog. A day in my life adheres to my favourite quote, ‘At the end of the day, what matters is how much happiness you gave and not how much you received.’

How have you dealt with your condition?

Parts of it are fun. It’s a bit like being a celebrity when you don’t have to wait in queues; you are treated as a VIP and are excused for not completing a task. But it can be challenging, especially if you aren’t given the correct guidance at the beginning. For me, that was the case. My childhood did not include proper therapy and that is why the wheelchair is now a part of me. Through my teenage years I worked with dedicated physiotherapists and with the moral backing of my parents I have managed to stay on the moderate side of the condition with no deformities or contracture. The challenges kick in with physical restrictions that make me think twice but I’ve been fortunate with loved ones who come to my rescue. There are times when negative thoughts kick in especially with regards to independence and fulfilling my dreams but I tend to maintain an optimistic outlook to life so
I don’t drown in sorrows.

How have your parents been supportive?

To their fullest capabilities, whether it be physically, morally or financially. I do know that the revelation was traumatic to them but with some counselling their outlook changed. There are times when they get over protective but that is when I voice my request to step out of the comfort zone and push the boundaries.

Why are the arts so important to you?

It is because arts are a language where words have no existence. It is purely feelings and thoughts. And it is my way of capturing the beauty I see in this world.

What about your blog?

Writing is an outlet to my inner self. I don’t write for the mass but they help me bring to life undefined thoughts and feelings that plague me. It is when I play with words that I am able to describe my vision to the world and when a quote captures my heart, it inspires me to write more. One of my favourites is from Allegra Goodman who said, Know your literary tradition, savour it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.”

What role has fashion played in your life?

To me, fashion is about attitude. If you have the right attitude, you are a showstopper. I was recently asked to model for the Women of the Desert fashion show and it left me speechless. This was my first opportunity to be on a runway and I was concerned about how society would see me. But I figured that this was my chance to create change and show the world what a fashionista I am!

What did you think of the photoshoot experience?

When I first found out that my fashion styling was to become the star of a feature, I was excited and nervous all at the same time. I’m terribly camera shy! But then I realised that this was an opportunity to show that a condition is not the end of the world. That we all face tests but we have to learn from our experiences. But this experience has been a milestone in my life and has made me pause and think about my life from another person’s point of view.