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A tryst with DESTINY
December 22, 2021 COMMENT comment
A tryst with DESTINY
By Santosh Joshi
When the film Nache Mayuri was released in 1986, it received an overwhelming response, not because of the star cast, but because of its heart-wrenching story: The real story of a young girl who refused to accept what destiny had in store for her. This young girl was none other than Sudha Chandran who has inspired a billion people through her act of courage and perseverance. On a fateful night in 1981, Sudha Chandran was travelling back from a visit to her family deity in Trichy to Chennai along with her parents. On the way, the bus she was travelling in had a head-on collision with another vehicle and being at the front, she fractured her right leg. A lapse in treatment caused gangrene to set in a wound. The doctors had no option but to amputate that leg to save her from fatality. Sudha says, “The biggest miracle for me was that the leg had to be amputated below my knee, which allowed me to stand up again and dance.” When she came back to Mumbai, her most difficult period had already started. She says, “My mother would sit crying for hours and my father took to alcoholism. The beautiful, small and happy family was now in shambles.”

“The biggest miracle for me was that the leg had to be amputated below my knee, which allowed me to stand up again and dance.”
Coping with Fate
“I had to do something that would make my parents proud and the only thing I knew was dance,” says Sudha. Three months later, she met Ramon Magsaysay award winner Dr PK Sethi. The moment she saw him, she told him she would love to dance. He said, “Why not?” Sudha was given an artificial leg, and she started to practice dance again. It was excruciatingly painful, but she did not stop.

When she was ready, her father booked an auditorium for her first show after the accident. The show was on a Saturday, and it was reported about in the dailies and local papers. By evening, the auditorium was packed with people. “Till that time, I was quite confident.

But the moment the music started, my heart actually sank.” She just turned back and said to her mother, “If there is a God that I believe in, then He will be there in the form of a sanyasi.” Says Sudha, “Suddenly I felt something pushed me on the stage, and I didn’t even realise that I danced for three hours. I finished my performance and I got a standing ovation.” Later her father told her that a person, who looked like a monk came and sat beside him. He gave him a purse and vibhuti, and asked him to apply it on her. “I opened the purse and there was Lord Buddha’s photo inside. It just fell into place,” she says.

The rest is history. A Telugu director wished to make a film on her story and persuaded her to act in the film. In 1986 the remake of this film was made titled Nache Mayuri, for which she got a special jury award at the National Film Awards, one of the many landmarks in her success story.
Coming to Terms
Sudha says her failures have been her main source of inspiration. “Each time I fail, I know I am going to succeed,” she avers. “I hate criticism. I don’t criticise and don’t like to be criticised, especially on personal issues. If it is constructive, I take it.” Sudha enjoys working. It’s difficult for her to sit idle. She feels her happiness comes from her work.

When asked about work stress, she retorts, “Stress? There is no time to get stressed. This is not being thrust on me. This is what I love doing.” For Sudha, spirituality is talking to God when she needs Him. “I have not seen him. But I know there is a force that is always guiding me,” she says.

She feels her purpose is probably to be an inspiration to the next generation. “And if that is the purpose, then I have found it,” she laughs. “My life is a message. I am happy that people have not only been inspired by my life but are also evolving learning from my life,” she says.

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