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Friday, 7 February 2014

Man of Steel!

He's has always been a great inspiration for me. Meet Joginder Sing Saluja, one of my mentors :)

Ever been upset with your life? Ever introspected yourself on what you are doing to make it worthwhile and blissful? Joginder Singh (27), resident of Dilshad Garden, Delhi, is a superbly-abled and lives each day in the best possible manner.


Joginder, affectionately called Bittoo paji, a differently-abled yet better than the abled, has earned numerous titles in paralympic power-lifting and body building pageants. He contracted polio when he was just a few months old, which consequently, left both of his legs impaired. He had already undergone ten operations by the time he turned 14. No doubt, he has had a real troublesome childhood. But, not letting himself down, he treated all the hurdles that he came across in life as springboards and windows to a better future. He is determined and meticulous for whatever he does. Also, he is a man with an enormously optimistic outlook to whatever comes his way.

“The routine surgeries continued to depress me as much as they could. This was the time when I gave a thought to body-building so that I could come out of sufferings and rather earn something really big and different in life.” He managed to overcome his weakness by gathering enough courage and willpower to hit the gym. But all that he had to face proved that the world, unfortunately, is not fair enough to each and every one. He was ridiculed and made fun of on the very first day of his gym-ing sessions. Proud and enthusiastic Joginder says, “You don't have to lose your real self in the search of acceptance by others. People made fun of me when I held the dumbbells for the first time. Their giggles and laughs instilled in me the passion to work even harder. I can now lift about 200 kg bench-press. Assi ta cheetein haan, kise toh nahi darde (I am as tough as a cheetah. I fear nothing/none).”

Soon after completing his graduation from SGTB Khalsa College, Delhi University, at 22 years of age, he opened up his own gym at Vivek Vihar. However, he provides absolutely free training for differently-abled people at his gym. Obstacles are things a person see when he takes his eyes off his goal. “The time I was mocked because of my disability, I had this gut feeling and used to daydream about opening up a special gym of my own. I fantasized of owning a gym, where differently-abled person would not be laughed upon. I accomplished my dream at the age of 22,” says Bittoo, the man whose eyes are an ocean that reflect his dreams and desires.


He has earned a lot in life. At the age of eighteen, he is the youngest to win the title of Mr. India in the category of Para-power lifting so far. Ever since he won this pageant, he never looked back. As a result of his hard work and immense dedication, he has been titled Mr. India in Para-power lifting for six times. He has also won many other awards and titles in various categories, the most prominent of them being the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities from President Pratibha Patil - World Disability Day - under the 'Role Model' category, Real Life Hero title (2012) from Aamir Khan, Role Model Award (2013) by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The list of the accolades that he has been honored with is never-ending. Additionally, he has been the counselor for differently-abled persons at Delhi University for seven years now. Above all, Joginder is the first differently-abled person to get selected as a health consultant (fitness trainer) at Central Reserve Police Force.

Bittoo is currently practicing hard so as to achieve all that he aspires for. Simultaneously, he is also running two gyms named ‘Workout Wonders’ at Vivek Vihar and Yojana Vihar. He aims at winning Mr. World title in body building. He is just waiting for the right time to come. Apart from this, he wants to open up institutions where he could counsel the differently abled by delivering motivational lectures and providing them with free of cost training.


                                                   

The purpose of life is not just to be happy. In fact, happiness comes from your own actions. The kind of life that Joginder leads is a perfect example of a life really well lived. There is no doubt he is full of life and vigour. When asked about his definition of life, Bittoo replies, “Life is to be practical, principled, constructive, admirable as well as benevolent, and to make some difference that you have lived and lived well. And the happiness automatically comes your way.”