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In a league of her own,impaired vision is no barrier for this warrior

It's with a huge smile that 29-year-old Rashpal Kaur meets us at the door of her Sector 35 home. The smile stays as she turns around,reaches for the wall,feels her way up and leads us to a flight of stairs.

Written by Jagmeeta Thind Joy | Chandigarh | Published: January 16, 2009 11:51:14 pm

It’s with a huge smile that 29-year-old Rashpal Kaur meets us at the door of her Sector 35 home. The smile stays as she turns around,reaches for the wall,feels her way up and leads us to a flight of stairs.

“I believe you know,” she says aloud before adding,“I am completely blind now.”

This time,the smile leaves us. All we knew before meeting her was that she is one of the finalists from the city for Zee TV’s upcoming dance reality show ‘Dance India Dance’. The news is a surprise for Kaur too.

“A team from the channel visited me a few days ago. They shot with me the entire day and said it would be aired soon,” says the contestant who signed up for the auditions held in the city last month. Back then,however,she could still make out night from day. This January afternoon sitting in her sunlit room all she can see is ‘black’.

It wasn’t always like that though. “I developed a tumour in the brain and was operated upon three years ago. But my vision started deteriorating slowly. After my child was born,I lost my vision completely,” Kaur says,surprisingly without any remorse.

Here’s perhaps why. “Dance has been my passion ever since I was a child. Even though I wasn’t allowed to learn professionally,I would choreograph my own sequences,” says Kaur who participated in all dance and stage shows held in her school and elsewhere. The accolades came easy and she even taught dance for three years at the Silver Oaks School before her vision gave up on her.

“They wanted me to continue but I could no longer see my students,” she rues. Not being the one to lie low,Rashpal bounced back by turning up for the recent dance auditions. “I usually count my steps around the stage and then calculate mentally while dancing,” says Kaur who makes it a point to tell her judges to select her on the basis of talent and not sympathy. Speaking of which,she seems to possess more than one. “I learnt Sikh martial arts as a child and continue with the same. I recently participated at the Nagar Kirtan,” Kaur’s spirited story continues to amaze.

Not only can she do all the moves with the weapons involved in martial arts,but she also has the skills of a teacher. “I teach young students at the Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Sector 35 every evening,” she says before adding,“Here again I count my steps and perform in a circle I make mentally.” With her blindness,she only regrets she can’t take up one-on-one fights.

And for her never say die attitude and will-power,the 29-year-old has her family to thank. “My husband,my mother-in-law,my sister-in-law — just about everyone in the family has always encouraged me. And yes,I have a lot of faith,” she says and this time her eyes do all the talking.

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