Geet – Women Breaking Stereotypes

I can never forget meeting Geet for the first time, I entered the green room with Madam Principal of the collage we were speaking for and first thing I noticed in the room was Geet. She was talking to that group backstage and from that point on all I remember was her personality, off course she’s lovely and you can’t help but be in awwe of her beauty. But, when she talks she creates magic. I was proud to share stage with her and I was suppose to be speaking after her, when she got done with her talk ( I was teleported to another world,her world )  I held the mic I was Blank…and I said that on stage that my story or struggle is nothing.

Meet Ms. Geet , she’s India’s First Wheelchair actress and Motivational speaker. She runs NGO for small under privileged children and that’s not all. Please check out and subscribe to her Youtube channel she makes amazing motivation videos every week .

Let’s hear from Geet her story

When I was just 10 years old, my family and I were in a devastating car accident. One moment, I was sleeping in the back seat of my parent’s car, with no worries in the world, and the next moment, when I woke up, there were ambulances all around and doctors told my parents that I would never walk again. I suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the waist down. Unable to feel or move my legs, I was confined to a wheelchair.

 

Immediately, I spiraled into depression. It was such a traumatic time for me that I don’t really remember much of it. But, my mom tells me that I used to cry all the time because I felt like my life was over. My dreams were shattered. I would never be able to be or do anything by myself. I would be an invalid for the rest of my life. Everywhere I went, people stared at me and felt sorry for me. I felt sorry for myself.

 

However, just 3 months after the accident, I went back to school in a wheelchair. Even that first year back to school, I didn’t let my disability hold me back. I ran for and was elected Student Body President for my school, participated in the school drama production and won several academic competitions.

 

I was always a bright student and class topper. Like most Indian parents, my parents too wanted me to study engineering, which I did.  I graduated top of my class with a bachelor of engineering.  But then I also studied and earned my doctor of law degree.

 

Growing up, I wanted one thing from life. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to change the world. I wanted to leave a lasting impact. I think that is why I switched careers from Engineering to Law. I thought, as a lawyer I could help people. And I did. I worked on several pro bono cases free of charge. But it wasn’t enough.

 

I volunteered at homeless shelters, the juvenile jail, hospitals, schools, community centers. But it still wasn’t enough.

 

Then a few years ago, I left everything to move to India to work with slum children full time. And I haven’t look back.

 

I run a small NGO through which we try to help underprivileged children and at-risk youth.  We go into the slums and through story-telling, song, dance and drama, we try to teach them positive values and encourage them to dream and succeed in life. Every week I teach several hundred underprivileged children positive values such as ethical behavior, helping others, stranger danger, reporting abuse, etc. I also try to help provide for the children’s needs by organizing medical camps, distributing soap and toothbrushes, organizing the donation of over 1000 sweaters every winter and more.

 

But there was one more dream I had as a child, and that was to be an actress. My journey started as a child performing at the dinner table.  I went onto acting in school dramas and taking every acting class I could through school and college.  After college, I started writing and directing small productions for community events and street drama to perform in market places and slums.

 

There was a temporary time of deep discouragement when my 12th grade teacher told me I was not good enough to be on stage because I was in a wheelchair, and only belonged backstage.  After that, though I continued to hone my skills through countless classes and directed others in acting, I was too disillusioned to audition to act on stage myself.  That is, until, India’s Best Cine Stars Ki Khoj.

 

I had been seeing the ads for the reality show on TV, but ignored them for the most part, thinking, “They wouldn’t want me.” Then when my sister saw that the Delhi auditions were just 3 days away, she began pushing me to give it a try. I was hesitant, but then decided to go for it, just for fun. I didn’t expect that I would even make it past the first audition. But, to my surprise, I began clearing audition after audition. And as this process continued, my passion for acting was rekindled.

Rather than preparing pieces solely for the audition, I began preparing monologues just to see if I could do better and do different types of scenes. It became a way to challenge myself and expand my acting abilities. I would perform for my family and friends, just to see their reaction, and was pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback.

 

I cleared several auditions, in Delhi and even traveled to Mumbai twice. I made it to the top 75 in the nation. But then one of the final audition rounds was a dance round. At that point, I was disqualified.

 

But for me, this was an awesome experience and showed me that I truly can act and that my acting can be appreciated, even though I am in a wheelchair.

But, I still was unsure whether or not the public was ready to accept an actress in a wheelchair. So to gage this, I began a Facebook page (TheOfficialGeet) about a year and a half ago. And to my surprise, within 6 months, I had over 1.5 million supporters from around the globe joining me on my journey to become India’s First Wheelchair Actress.

I do realize that practically speaking, there are very few, if any, roles for disabled actors in cinema today. So, going for traditional auditions is not really an option for me. That is part of the reason I have taken the help of social media, to raise awareness and showcase my talent. About 10 months ago, I started creating motivational short films and putting them on the net and received a positive response. I am hoping that as word spreads maybe someone in the film industries in India will take note and give me a chance for at least an audition. They will not be disappointed!

 

And in the process, through my page, I daily motivate people from all walks of life to achieve their dreams and not let set backs hold them back.

 

My biggest challenge has been overcoming the stereotypes associated with being a person with a disability. And the biggest stereotype has been, that a person with a disability “can’t” do much of anything. At times, I have even begun to believe this. But even when I would think, “I can’t,” my family would encourage me that “I can.” And with their support, I have proven over and over again to myself and to those around me that with God I can do all things.

 

My motto is, “Concentrate on what you can do, rather than on what you can’t do, and God will make all things possible.” So, I choose to focus on my abilities and my strengths and capitalize on them. And I believe in the power of prayer.  I think everyone in this world has inabilities, things we can’t do. My inabilities are obvious. When I was ten years old, I was in a car accident in which I injured my spinal cord and lost the use of my legs.  Before the accident, I could run and jump and dance like any other little kid, but after the accident, I was confined to my wheelchair.  And of lot of times when someone is in a wheelchair it is automatically assumed that they are helpless and their life is basically over.  I could have believed that stereotype and thought that I can’t do anything anymore, I can’t be what I want to be.  But instead, I believed…I believed that although I couldn’t use my legs anymore, I could still use my arms, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my smile.  I could still use so many things to accomplish my dreams.  Instead of thinking I can’t, I believed that with God I can. And I continue to believe that.

 

Every time I have fallen or had setbacks, God and my family have been my pillars. God has given me an inner strength and my family has supported me every step of the way.  They have been the ones who have always given me the strength to move on. They have believed in me and encouraged me to believe in myself.

 

To women who are striving to make their dreams a reality, I give this simple advice:

 

Dream big. Work hard. Never give up. Dreams do come true. Hard work always pays. And persistence is the key to success.

 

Know it will not be an easy path, but there are two magic words that will help you overcome all hurdles to reach your goal. And those words are “I can.” I once read that Thomas Edison made almost 1,000 unsuccessful attempts before he invented the electric light.  And Bill Gates was a college drop out and his first business failed. Amitabh Bachchan, I read, was rejected from a radio job because his voice was not good enough. But they all went on to be hugely successful because they chose to believe “I can.” In the same way, whatever difficulty comes your way, always believe “I can” and try your hardest. And with the grace of God, you will succeed.

 

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