chronic pain india, invisible illness, self care

In conversation with Mr. Mahendra Singh Raghuvanshi

 “Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Living this adage to the fullest is our next Pain Warrior in this series as we celebrate Pain Awareness month. Mr. Mahendra Singh Raghuvanshi is an ardent sportsperson who has keen interests in cricket and riding. Having played cricket professionally he has won many accolades to his claim. Not letting his Phantom Limb Syndrome deter him, he went onto even fulfill his love for trekking.

Join us, to know his story and know what ignites his passion to keep striding ahead, now matter what.

In conversation (1)

  • Can you please tell us how this accident happened. What was the extent of your injuries?

On 16th September 2007, I was traveling from Mhow to Indore in a bus when I lost my limb in a freak accident. I was barely nineteen then, and was pursuing my graduation. In the accident, there were nine casualties. I was underneath the bus for almost two hours with multiple injuries before people came check on me.

I was not in a condition to speak because of my head injury. In the chaos that followed, people had presumed I was dead. I could hear their voices and all of a sudden a voice inside my head screamed “If I don’t react right now, I might just die like this.” That thought itself was enough to make me act quickly . With all courage and energy left in me, I managed to move my hand slightly. By this time, people had noticed my attempts to move and came to rescue immediately.

Following are the injuries which happened in an accident:-

  1. The head injury which is covered by 22 stitches and I lost 30 % hearing power from the right ear permanently.
  2. Rusted iron rod of the bus went into my stomach which thankfully, was removed immediately.
  3. Shoulder permanent location change due to heavyweight falling on the shoulder in the accident. Currently, both shoulders do not look the same.
  4. Pelvis fracture which was healed through the rod
  5. Sensation loss in the single remaining leg almost a year.
  6. Amputation of one leg.

Live it or leave it!

  • You are from an army family background and your father was a battle casualty at the same time as your accident. This must have been a trying time for your family. How did this influence your recovery?

After four months of treatment, I was able to stand again with the help of prosthesis on 1st January 2008. After fitting of the prosthesis, I went to the surgeon in Bombay Hospital, Indore for further treatment. The surgeon was shocked on seeing me standing on the prosthesis so soon after my accident and told me you can do everything if you can stand in four months.

After two years of an accident, I got habituated to the prosthesis and start using it for riding a bike, walking and watching cricket on the ground. One day I got the opportunity to again play cricket but this time with the prosthesis. That day I played cricket after almost two and a half years.

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Image (C) Mahendra Singh Raghuvanshi
  • With this accident you had to rethink your graduation and career in the army, how did you cope and change your vision?

Initially, it was very painful but later I learnt how to manage it. Very soon I was able to play regularly with others.  In 2014 I had heard about disabled cricket and tried to participate in it through my state (M.P) team. I got a call in January 2015 for trials of  state team selection for a central zone cricket tournament.

Afterwards, I was selected in MP disabled cricket team and got the opportunity to play in four inter-state tournaments. On performance basis, I was selected in the central zone team for the Zonal tournament.

Furthermore, based on my performance in the Zonal tournament, I got a call for selection in Team India. I was fortunate to be selected in team India for Bangladesh tour where I got to play 5 nations international disabled cricket tournament which was held in September 2015.

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  • You show so many positive vibes and a can-do attitude, what is your personal mantra to keep you going on?

We all have to live only once, it depends on us, whether we want to live with tears or with a smile, the choice is ours. If we live with a smile, our loved ones also feel happy and if we live with tears they also live with tears.

  • If you could tell us about your Limca book of records and how you came to get motivated towards biking and trekking.

About biking, well, all boys have a crush on bikes and want to ride their dream bike to the dream destination. Same was the case with me. I bought Royal Enfield Classic on 18th May 2016 and embarked on a road trip to Ladakh ride in which I covered 5300km in 17days.

I purchased the bike at the last moment. However, I was planning for this trip for 4 months and had already searched in Limca book of records for any existing records on this. Surprisingly, I didn’t saw any record and my attempt was considered as a maiden attempt under ‘Longest Motorcycle ride with prosthetic‘.

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I have a deep connection with mountains because I had lived in Ranikhet (Uttrakhand) for two years in childhood. Perhaps this is where my love for trekking was born. Actually I dreamt of standing atop the Mount Everest one day. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any sponsorship or funding to scale the same. The tentative cost to Summit Everest comes to around INR 40-50 Lacs. I was not in a position to afford this amount.

I work in the automotive sector with Cummins India, which is enough for a decent lifestyle. However, I had managed to arrange around INR 1.5 lacs from my savings and after that, I had planned for the Everest Base Camp trek along with three passes trek. Complete trek took 20-22 days time. But, we are lacking in money so we decided to complete 2 days trek in a single day which results, I had completed the trek in record 14 days.

We all have to live only once, it depends on us, whether we want to live with tears or with a smile, the choice is ours. If we live with a smile, our loved ones also feel happy and if we live with tears they also live with tears.

Facebook helped me in discovering TCO and they in turn helped me connect with more people like me (Amputee). Earlier I was not completely aware about amputee-related problems. TCO helped me a lot for all those concerns and query.

  • Any message for all the people out their fighting their own battles?

Live it or leave it.

P.S: All images used are copyright of Mr. Mahendra Singh Raghuvanshi

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If you are a pain warrior or know someone who is one and would like to share their story with us, please do get in touch with us. 

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