Racing against odds

Manisha Jha Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on January 22, 2013

Abhay Palande at the marathon in Mumbai. — Priyanka Pani

Bright bespectacled eyes and an easy smile is the first thing that strikes you about the 26-year-old Mumbai Marathon participant Abhay Palande. Fighting against all odds, he completed the 2-km marathon path in the wheelchair category on his debut attempt unhindered; however the path to complete his college education remains fraught with hurdles.

Abhay had enrolled in the first year of Bachelors of Pharma course in the UDCT College, Mumbai University, when he suffered a recurrence of a tumour in his spine, rendering him devoid of any sensation below his stomach. The ailment forced him to drop out of his dream course, before eventually signing up for a B.Com course with a heavy heart.

“It was a dream to complete the pharmacy course, as it would then make me eligible for a license to set up a pharmacy of my own. However, since I had to leave the course in the first year and lost two years, getting back was not easy. So, instead of losing more years, I decided to enrol in B.Com while continuing to request my college to re-join my former course.”

So what brought him to the Mumbai Marathon? “I wanted to participate and enjoy people cheering me on. I would urge all others to also come forward and do the same. Even though there was a lot of confusion in figuring out where the finish line was and who came first and last, and I was not able to get my refreshment kit despite asking around several counters, it was a fun experience. I am going to be back to participate next year as well,” he added.

As for his fight to get back to his course of first choice, he seemed up for the challenge.

“I have been trying for the last six months to convince my college authorities to let me re-join the pharma course, but it is not going to be easy. Every time we go to discuss the matter, we are made to wait for three to four hours to make our voice heard. They seem sceptical and reluctant to accept our request, fearing that they would have to shoulder my responsibility as the course has a practical module included in the curriculum. But I will continue to keep trying,” he concluded.



Published on January 22, 2013

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