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Dancing in the dark


Text by:Rojina Adhikari 

The recent biopic on the life of the visually impaired dancer and motivational speaker, Srishti KC has been making quite the buzz. WOW talks to the inspiring lady to know more about her side of the story.

Born and raised in a family of five in Kathmandu, Srishti KC is the youngest child. She had a happy childhood and lived a normal life—going to school, playing with friends and dancing.
At the age of 14, KC had a minor eye allergy and went to a local eye specialist. She was prescribed a few drugs, which was supposed to relieve the itchiness. However, instead of getting better, her eye infection got worse and became severe. She visited several doctors hoping for improvement, but the results were negative. Then at the age of 16, everything changed; she lost her sight completely.

Sight unseen

As life took an unexpected turn, it was obvious that KC was in shock and denial. “It was as if I had gone blank I thought it was just my imagination. It was painful, I kept hoping that it was all a bad dream,” she shared.

Although she received immense support from her family, the society started speculating her future. “I would often hear negative remarks often made behind my back. Some would assume that my career was over. While some said that I was not capable of doing anything anymore. But I gathered the strength and listened to my inner self. I did not allow them to demotivate me from living my dreams. In fact, it encouraged me to blind all my backbiters by becoming a shining success,” she stated.

Finding her path

Though it was a tough path for KC, she was persistent to make something of her life. After rejection from several colleges, she was finally able to get admission into Kanya Multiple Campus. According to KC, initially, she was not able to read through Braille so she did auditory learning; she would record and listen to lectures. She then made her own learning tool in which she carved the alphabets and practised writing it in paper. Then gradually she began to use Braille.

She claimed—” When I had my eyesight I never stood first on any academic level but when I lost it I never came second. I realised that my blindness was not an excuse. It did not define me nor reflected my intellectuality. I became the college-topper in my intermediate level—I topped the TU Board. I also managed to get the top spot in my bachelors. In fact, I topped all of Nepal in Nepali Literature and won a gold medal, which was presented to me by the then Prime Minister.”

A few years back she received European Scholarship in Dance Anthropology and in 2017 she completed her international joint degree.

Visionary dancer

“I remember even when I was a child, I couldn’t stop my feet whenever a dancing number was playing on television,” KC reminisced. However, when she decided to learn professional dancing and visited some of the prominent dance institutions in Nepal, she was rejected. “They said they could not teach a visually impaired person and didn’t believe that I could dance. This incident hit me hard. I thought about it and decided that if nobody would teach me to dance; I would simply learn it myself. I used my imagination and choreographed the dance steps. This motivated me to teach dance to other differently abled individuals. I also organised the first dance workshop for the visually impaired in the country,” she shared.

Rocking lives

After attending a seven-month social entrepreneurship course at Kanthari International, Kerala, KC began conducting workshops for the visually impaired. She became actively involved in different college projects. In 2014 she officially registered her organisation ‘Blind Rocks’, to continue to provide workshops and training programmes to the differently abled.

She revealed—”After losing my eyesight I was in a deep shock. But then I realised rather than shocking, life should be rocking and hence I was inspired to name my organisation ‘Blind Rocks’.”
As the organisation emphasises on fashion and performing arts, many have questioned KC what effect would it make in the lives of the visually impaired? To which she answered— “There is a misconception that dance, art and fashion are not for the visually impaired, whereas I hace found that these skills are helpful for both their personal, professional and social life.

I want people like myself to challenge the perspective of the society. I want to expand my workshop in every corner of the nation and provide a platform for the differently abled to prove that they can thrive in any field.”

Real to Reel

During an international programme, film producer Nikesh Limbu heard KC’s motivational speech. The mere 18 minutes speech instantly touched the director’s heart and he wanted to tell the world about KC’s journey. After consulting with the director, he approached KC with a proposal. “I grabbed the opportunity instantly because I believed that this would definitely bring positive change in the lives of the differently abled,” KC recalled.

Directed by Milan Chams, actor Benisha Hamal has played the reel life KC. “The movie has contributed to erasing the gap between the normal and differently abled people in society,” she stated.

ONE MINUTE WITH SRISHTI

Your childhood dream
I wanted to become a lawyer. While I was in school if any of my friends quarrelled I played the role of judge and pointed out the guilty person. Now to some extent, I think I have become a lawyer since I am advocating for the rights of the differently abled (albeit without wearing a black coat).

Your biggest inspiration
I would say each and every step of life inspires me to take the next.

Your role model
My mother.

Your message
Life is all about experiences just don’t go through it, grow through it.