Jammu and Kashmir

Wheelchair-bound woman in SMHS transforms adversity into artistic mastery

Encountering the harsh realities of hunger and loneliness while living in a hospital, a wheelchair-bound woman has been transforming her adversity into artistic mastery.

Saima Noor, 38, who tragically got separated from her parents in Bangalore during her childhood, has become an inspiration for other specially-abled people by showing them a way how to live an independent life.

Talking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Saima said she got separated from her parents when she was eight years old and has never got connected with them again.

“Then I was brought to the valley by a Kashmiri family from Bangalore. They took care of me like their own child and I spent around 19 years with them. Later, I got very ill due to rheumatoid arthritis and continued living with them for a few more years,” she said.

They even took care of my treatment; bore the expenses of my operation which, however, didn’t show any positive result. “I became so weak that I wasn’t able to hold anything in my hand. I had to undergo hip replacement surgery as well. Then, I decided to part from them as I didn’t want to put further burden on them,” Noor said.

Saima said that in Srinagar, she admitted herself in SMHS for treatment and was there for some time. “However, I suffered panic attacks due to the continuous noise in the hospital. Then, after the intervention of a woman working in the Social Welfare Department, the then DC Srinagar ordered the hospital authorities to provide me a room,” she said.

She is now living a wheelchair-bound life in SMHS where she has been encountering the harsh realities of hunger and loneliness, and transforming the adversity into artistic mastery.

I started painting at Ward 6 of the hospital to divert attention from noise, loneliness, hunger and other issues and have made hundreds of paintings so far. I even sold a few to manage my expenses, she said, adding, “Sometimes, some friends also help”.

“I haven’t even eaten anything for weeks together as nothing was available but still I think I am alive only because of Kashmiri people,” Saima said. “Had I been living anywhere else, I would have been in the grave.”

Saima, however, refuses to succumb to despair and dependency; instead, she embarked on a creative journey using her artistic talents.

“One shouldn’t succumb to despair but try to work whatever he/she can so as to remain independent,” she said, adding that she has been given a space in Kashmir Haat Srinagar to sell her art pieces.

My message to the other specially-abled persons will be that your disability isn’t the end of life, rather you need to be courageous to fight all odds and overcome challenges, Saima said. “If your one organ isn’t functioning, your brain is working and that is enough to work on your dreams to make them come true.”—(KNO)

Jahangeer Ganaie

Jahangeer Ganaie is a Pulwama based journalist, currently south head with News agency KNO and owner of The Kashmir Scroll

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