“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway” – Mary Kay Ash
She made a painting on a canvas 5’X3’ having 1248 different forms of Ganesh each in one square inch space, with a portrait of Lord Ganesh in the background. She coloured it with 4215 different shades using the minutest brush 000. This painting rightly titled “Adbhut” won a place in the Limca Book of world records in 2009. She is a postgraduate in Fine Arts. She won the Danik Bhaskar Women of the year award 2010. She is a sculptor and a poet having composed more than 1500 poems. She has organized numerous panting exhibitions. The list of her achievements will startle a normal person – more so because she is paraplegic. Meet Ms Kshama Kulshrestra of Bhopal who has belied the predictions of doctors with her reservoir of will power, creativity and energy.
Way back in 1998 when Kshama had gone to attend a function on the fourth floor terrace of a relative’s house. One side of the boundary wall was broken and a tent was put to cover it. Unknowingly she drifted towards the edge and fell down. She sustained about a dozen fractures in her spinal cord. She had to be bed ridden for almost 15 months, during which she underwent about 70 major and minor operations. The doctors lost all hope and predicted that she will never be able to stand up or walk.
When she was in the hospital, someone gifted her book “Lecture from Colombo to Almora” by Swami Vivekananda. It changed her perspective towards life. “I started feeling the presence of God near me. I used to talk to other patients and try to reduce their pain. I used to get peace of mind and feel positive energy which helped me in getting over my illness” she said Dr. Nigam became her savior, by instilling in her the confidence that she will be able to walk.
So great was her passion for painting that even when she was bedridden, her mother and sister used to hold the canvas for hours, to enable her to paint lying down. Incredible it may sound ,but she actually started painting when she was 2 ½ years of age. “I feel depressed, if I don’t paint for a day. It gives me energy” she says. As a child she used to be scolded by her father because she used to fill the whole drawing copy in one day. When guests were at home Kshama would prefer to be closeted in a corner , engrossed in drawing rather than mingle with them.
In June 2005 President A P J Abdul Kalam was emotionally moved when Kshama presented him with a poem of 100 lines and 41 matching paintings depicting his life. She received the National Creativity Award in 2008 from the Vice President, and the National Abilimpic Award from Shashi Kapoor.
After the accident, one night when she was having unbearable pain, she made a painting “feeling of death” hoping that it would be the last painting of her life. Talking about her painting “mysterious friend” she said “God is my mysterious friend, who fulfill all my needs even before I can ask for”
Mrs Urmila Kulshreshtra the proud mother of Kshama is virtually a shadow of her daughter. She left her career of an interior designer and PWD contractor to take care of Kshama. She prayed to God daily to give her strength. “Once when I was sad, my mother gave me rose and uttered some inspiring lines of poetry. I still preserve that rose is my dairy” she says.
Kshama has religiously followed the routine of making one idol of Lord Ganesh daily in just half an hour. She is fond of reading and listening to music. Gulzar and Nida Fazli are her favorite writers. She draws inspiration from Swami Vivekananda and Sachida Nagdev Ji.
She has total faith in God who gives her strength in difficult situations. Talking about her dream Kshama says “I want to start an Art Gallery to provide a platform for upcoming artists and draftsman who are held back because of financial constraints”
Nick named “Bitti” Kshama finds happiness in small things. Narrating a memorable incident she says “on 26 July 2004 my teacher and classmates organized an exhibition of my paintings as a surprise on my birthday. The cake was brought in and the college Art Gallery turned in to a hall of celebration”. When asked to give a message she said” happiness lies within each one of us, and not outside where most of us search for it” She has organized a number of painting exhibitions and has made a place for herself as a creative artist. She finds joy in creating various kinds of art work using oil paints, acrylic colors, paper mashie, glass etc. After the popularity of her earlier exhibition based on the theme” search of happiness” ,she has organized the second phase “Vibrant strokes of Joy” in Oct 2013. Her paintings have a spiritual theme and also a subtle message .Her generosity in evident from the fact that she does not let go any opportunity to help the less fortunate ones.
Kshama has published a book on Art therapy. She is making Vastu based paintings to enhance the positivity in the lives of people. She has been honored by President, Vice President, Governor and Chief Minister among others.
(The above success story is based on the interview of Ms Kshama Kulshreshtra with Maj Pradeep Khare)