Huafrid Billimoria, the First Indian with dystonia to complete 2 OLYMPIC DISTANCE TRIATHLONS, 10kmswimathon and a full marathon says, “At 5 I got diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). ‘He has severe learning disabilities. You should enroll him in a special school.’ said my teachers.
But that wasn’t all. Due to my condition, I became a permanent target of bullies. They’d slap me, bang my head against the wall and even duress me to lick the ground. They also created a Huafrid Billimora hate group on Facebook.
Even if I tried to complain, their parents would have comebacks such as ‘Your child is wrecked, isne hee kuch kiya hoga. Otherwise, why would my son beat him.’ The continuous foist left me with a lot of principled rage. My ADHD medication further escalated the way I felt. Unaware of channelizing these emotions the right way I erupted one day; I misbehaved with my school principal in my 10th standard. Things only got worse thereon.
She refused to give me a chance to present my argument. She even intimidated me about calling the police if I didn’t submit an apology letter from my side. But that wasn’t it; the next day my parents were made to apologize to the principal in front of the entire school assembly.
My parents put me in that school so that I could have a normal childhood. But it was days like these that didn’t let them have a ‘normal parenthood’. My health only kept deteriorating from then on. Soon, I started trembling and feeling wan. On visiting the hospital, the doctor disclosed that I had Dystonia (a neurological disorder). But I didn’t let the tormentors, traumas, or disabilities hinder my academics; I got a distinction in boards.
However, the browbeat tagged along in college as well. I didn’t know what true friends were for 18 long years. Fed up of putting up with the constant abhorrence, I decided to advocate for the plight of people like me. But I knew ‘My words were of no impact if they weren’t backed up with actions’.
So, I started participating in marathons and endurance swimming. A few months later I became the first Indian with dystonia to complete an Olympic Distance Triathlon 10km swimathon and a full marathon! Overnight I was flooded with overwhelming responses. The ‘Acceptance’ I always wanted was finally here, did I need it was the question to be asked as I believed in myself at last unconditionally.
However, does everyone put up with all this to fit in? No; then why should people like me? I know, not everyone can be the Nikumb Sir to my Ishaan Avasthi. But the least someone can do is to not be like the other characters in the movie.”