Everyone dreams of being independent after college, live a life of their own and follow their dream job; there are only a few who get there. Life is uncertain, and who could know that better than the shining-young star who got it all, and then did not anymore. This is her story. Does she come through?
Once upon a time in the diverse land of India, there lived a girl, passionate and strong. A young achiever from Kamala Nehru College, Delhi University. Soon as she completed her post-graduation, this gregarious girl bagged her dream job and was all set to kick start her career. Then not too long after all her life seemed to be coming through into place, a big flame-breathing dragon by the name of epilepsy showed up and set fire to the happy land. There are two things to know about epilepsy. First, it is a nervine genetic disease which develops acute to chronic brain-related issues. Second, disapproval surrounds this disease. It forced our dear protagonist to leave her job and move back to her hometown.
Saddened by the circumstances and as she was trying to figure things out, the big dragon began draining all her powers and she started having speech impediment, untimely seizures, memory loss to the point where she wasn’t able to recognize her friends and even struggled to hold a pen and write. Flooded with 10 to 16 tablets a day as medication, the side effects took over. She had to live in a lockdown, long before it was normalized. Things went further south as all this trauma pushed her away from the happy land into a deep dark cave the local folks called depression.
People say, one can deal with tough times with good company and books. But what happens when the company you cannot recognize, and that one friend you rely on completely give up on you and moves ahead? Well, our protagonist was not raised a quitter and she decided to live on with her company in books. She would express herself completely in prose and poetry. She penned her vulnerabilities down in a wonderful piece called ‘Feral Thoughts’. Soon enough her talent was recognized, her book getting published and within a few years, getting listed in the top-ten new reads of 2021 in the Demode magazine. Her mental health improved and her will to coming through helped her out of this disease.
By the end of 2019, she cracked an interview again, flew in to Thiruvananthapuram and had another go at leading an independent life. Currently, she is the R&D Head at MistEO (Accubits). The dragon was not seen or heard of again.
Yes, it is a true story. Seems as beautiful as fiction, right?
We all have a story; struggles are organic but the outcome of the journey is in our hands. As far as this story is concerned, the ending is far from close, there is lot more to achieve, learn and present. Sheetal Bhadauriya, the protagonist of our story talked about epilepsy over a conversation with DU Express. She mentioned how it is still a taboo in our country and reminisced her days at Delhi University.
As she talked, she mentioned that there had been a few symptoms that went totally unrecognised due to lack of awareness. These symptoms included rare speech impediments, which she mistook for stage fright, anxiety attacks and frequent zoning out. She wishes to spread more and more awareness on the disease as she wants that no one goes through the pain and suffering that she had to face as a survivor. Cutting down the misery of other survivors has become one of her major goals.
While conversing with DU Express, she said, “I had great friends, particularly one friend I loved like my sister. When I was in the worst phase of the disease, my friends got confused and did not know what to do so few of them simply left.” She says there is a dire need to spread awareness about the disease and despises the behavior of people around epileptic individuals. She exclaims seizures do not last for a long time, within a couple of seconds the body comes to a state of rest, there is no need for, “joota sunghana” or “moza sunghana” , these are plain superstitions.
Talking about her time at the university, she especially cherishes fests at different colleges and the Rolls and Chowmein at her college canteen. As the President of the Geography Department at KNC, she got to spend a lot of time with (then HoD) Principal of KNC, ma’am Kalpana Bhakuni. She remembers her as noble lady who taught her a lot about feminism and shaped her to be who she is. Sheetal, the humble soul that she is, feels extremely grateful towards her teachers at DU and still shares a bond with them as they supported her throughout this journey. Like every other college student, she enjoyed bunking lectures to have quality time with her friends at Diggin café, Sarojini Shopping, Leisure walks to Ansal Plaza and laughed while reminiscing all these memories.
Not only this, the one woman army also runs a foundation by the name of Feral Thoughts Foundation. Though in its nascent stage, Sheetal now runs her own small institute where she is trying to educate a few underprivileged children free of cost and even in the pandemic has been operating over Google Meet. She calls it the Feral Thought’s Foundation with a belief that in years to come it shall be a self-reliant institute and wants to impart knowledge about Epilepsy and the taboo in India surrounding it.
More about the book:
During her initial joist with epilepsy, she read and wrote a lot of poems. Penning down her thoughts, as they came to her, hence the name -“Feral Thoughts”. However, these poems are not about her journey or are aimed at preaching one about self-help. The topics in the book range from hate, love, friendship, and everything in between. It was more of her rebuilding process, which has now been minted as this book. Further to this, the major theme of the book and what it is all about can be found on her website as well as her Instagram profile, where she actively shares and writes.
Buy the book at : https://www.amazon.in/Feral-Thoughts-Poetry-Untamed-Soul/dp/1649199724
Sheetal’s social media handles: https://www.instagram.com/feral__thoughts/