THIS AMPUTEE’S JOURNEY TO BECOMING INDIA’S FIRST FEMALE BLADE RUNNER IS A STORY THAT NEEDS TO BE TOLD AGAIN AND AGAIN.
BY ANUPAMA BIJUR
In December 2011, Kiran Kanojia, an Infosys employee, was on her way home to Faridabad, a special journey since she was going to celebrate her birthday on December 25 with her family. Eager to see them, Kiran put on her backpack and satby the door of the train. What happened next is hazy in her memory but she remembers two boys attempting to snatch her bag and pushing her out of the train. As she fell on the tracks with a scream, the train ground to a halt. She tried to move but she could not feel her left leg. On the eve of her birthday, Kiran lay in a hospital bed catching snatches of conversation about ‘saving the leg’. That’s when she realised what she’d lost. “I was thinking, ‘I should be receiving greetings on my birthday, not a consent form to approve an amputation on my own limb.’ But I signed it.”
Today Kiran, 28, is a champion blade runner and this horrifying accident is what set her journey in motion. Kiran is often invited to Delhi and Mumbai to run and flag off marathons. She eventually wants to participate in the Paralympic Games, but for now she’s still dealing with people’s reactions when they see her in action. “There is curiosity and discomfort because this is not natural. It’s up to me to make them comfortable.” If there’s one thing that this tragedy has taught Kiran, she says, it’s to not to wait for miracles but to start living.
PHOTOGRAPH: SAURABH CHATTERJEE