In Books, Daughters, Speaking, Writing

The first time I heard about Siddharth Jayakumar was through a video that a friend shared on Facebook. As I was viewing this video, I couldn’t help but feeling moved. Watch the video below to know why.

Siddharth, or Sidhu as he affectionately called, is a guy affected by Cerebral Palsy early in his childhood. He has involuntay movements as he walks and talks. There’s a slight slur in his talk. Other than that, he is just like anyone else and that’s what he is fighting to emphasize.

Currently, Sidhu works as an Associate manager at IndusInd Bank. He is a Certified ‘Documentary Credit Specialist’ from Institute of Financial Services, UK and became India’s first CDCS with Cerebral Palsy. He is a recipient of National award in 2008 by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment as ‘Best Employee with Cerebral Palsy’ given by the honorable Vice President of India on 3 Dec 2008. He was conferred the ‘Lala Kailashpat Singhania Award’ from National Society for Equal Opportunities for Handicapped and the Helen Keller awards in December 2009 for being a positive role model. You can read more about him here at TEDxChennai Speaker page.

The first thought that stuck me was that I should meet him. The second thought was that I should get him to TEDxChennai as a speaker for he fits right in.

I was very glad that he actually lives in Chennai. I immediately sent him an email and we followed up our email exchange over phone. I invited him to TEDxChennai and he readily agreed.

Then a thought stuck me a few hours before my daughter’s book launch function.  My daughter’s story focuses on the message that one should not crib about things they don’t have but make the most of what they do have. Sid is a living example of this.  I called him up, explained to him about my daughter’s book and asked him to come attend the function as a special guest. It was a very short notice but I was glad he agreed.

Here’s me introducing Sidhu to the audience during my daughter’s book launch function.

He spoke about his life travails and what gave him the motivation to fight on. The audience were riveted to his talk. Sidhu, because of cerebral palsy, can’t speak normally and he has unusual body movements as he speaks. I noticed tears roll down few people’s faces. I loved how he mixed emotions and humor together. Those are signs of a good speaker.

That’s Sidhu with my daughter Krithya. I wanted my daughter and other kids in the apartment to meet people like Sidhu. Its people like him who can make a lasting impression on the young minds. I’m really glad I got a chance to meet him and get to know him better. Something tells me that we’ll bond for a long time to come.