Swimming against the tide — stories of resilience and survival from 2016

By Tanvi Dubey|13th Dec 2016
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As the chapter of 2016 ends, here are some stories about resilience, healing, and inspiration. 

At some point in our lives, we have all felt the walls closing in. We have all experienced that feeling of not having control over things around us, or of being sucked into that vortex of unbearable pain. However, fragile as the human heart, mind, and body may be, the resilience we can display is remarkable.

Through mental, emotional, and physical pain, here are some women who have shown us what it means to survive. In the face of grim and dreary conditions, they fought like warriors, overcoming challenges and emerging victorious.

Graphics- Aditya Ranade

Emotional and mental well-being

“When I saw the sheer fear and helplessness and disappointment in my parents’ eyes when they saw their completely messed-up daughter, I decided that I needed to pick up the pieces of my life and work towards regaining my emotional stability.” — Natasha Kothari

How did Natasha bounce back? Read the story here.

“It’s never too late to begin healing. Don’t lose hope until you really have left no stone unturned, including seeking help outside your home.”

Vidhu Goyal fought depression, something that affects so many of us, but which so few of us actually acknowledge and seek help for. Read how Vidhu did it.

“I did not talk to anyone, participate in competitions, or study. That can easily be called one of the darkest phases of my life. I realised I could not allow myself to slip into oblivion. I decided I had to change.”

Harshini Kanhekar turned her life around and went on to become India's first female firefighter. Read about her inspirational journey here.

Fighting fit

“The aim now was to save my life at any cost. Days stretched into months; one surgery turned into four. Pinned down to the bed, my independence was snatched away harshly. The hair also started to go. I clearly remember going for a short walk in the hospital, when I saw myself in the mirror. With bald patches all over, I looked unrecognisable and felt terrible. Honestly, I didn’t know if I would survive this; all I knew was that I would not give up at any stage.”

Today, dance has given a new meaning to Nandita's life. Read her story here.


“Though hair loss is painless and usually temporary, it is often one of the most distressing side effects of chemotherapy and lowers the self-esteem of sufferers, making them withdraw into a shell! It is a challenge to face the world without hair — the stares, the looks of pity, and sometimes even of disgust.”

Read how Premi kick-started the campaign for hair donation so cancer patients could get wigs.

Madhu recalls, “It was the most horrifying moment of my life when the doctor at TMH told me about the disease. We rushed to TMH and the disease was confirmed after reinvestigation. I remember all the energy suddenly draining out of me; I almost fainted. I knew what cancer was and the consequences of it. The face of my seven-year-old son flashed in front of me — how would he live and how could I die?”

Madhu fought back and here is her story.


Acceptance is important

“People do stare at me. It is easy to feel depressed and stay at home. I do not need to work for the money since I know my parents will support me. But I want to live my life to the fullest. I might not be able to stand on my own feet, but that does not mean I cannot do it figuratively.” — Rajvi Gosalia

Read the story here.

“Our society as a whole is lacking only in one thing, i.e., accepting the fact that disability is physical, not social. It is their psychological mindsets which let them believe there is no life for persons with disability.” — Suvarna Raj

Read her inspirational story here.

As the curtain falls on 2016, one of the important takeaways is not to let situations get the better of us. It is important never to lose hope and to always fight back. No matter how deep into the abyss you fall, there is always a way to get out of it.

If you found yourself in a similar situation like these wonderful women then tell us your story in the comments section below. How did you battle the challenges before you?