Tilak Prasad Joshi is an outdoor games enthusiast and a participant of Oxfam Trailwalker. He is a national level football player, marathon runner and also enjoys trekking.
Despite of being visually impaired, it has not held him back from his passion. Joshi is currently working at Tata Capital Housing Finance. He uses a Screen Reader at office which enables him to use the laptop to perform various tasks.
“I had lost my sight at the age of 3, but as I grownup I truly realize there is nothing that can stop me from enjoying life like any other sighted person,” said Joshi. He also gives credit to Tata for giving him an opportunity despite his disability.
While he doesn’t remember seeing anything, he knows that his passion has always been the outdoors and that he always happily participated in every activity.
Tilak Prasad Joshi speaks about his experience with Oxfam Trailwalker.
How has your journey been so far?
If I have to talk about my overall journey, it has been amazing and fantastic. There were and still are a lot of challenges. I have overcome some, failed some and am still struggling against some. But I am satisfied with whatever little I have achieved.
What are the hurdles that you faced and how did you overcome them?
All these years I have to face lot of hurdles, but one of the biggest hurdles that I have faced and still face is mindset. The way people think about disability, their perception towards the disabled. Very few people consider giving us an opportunity, although by providing right kind of infrastructure/support anybody can come over disability and achieve something in life.
How has your organization help you in fulfilling your goals?
Being with Tata has been a dream come true. It is committed to improving the lives of the people in society by providing equal opportunity without discrimination whether it be disable or nondisabled. I have personally experienced this commitment by the organisation in my working here. I am provided with right kind of work atmosphere and infrastructure support that I require.
What made you participate in Oxfam trailwalker? Was there any inhibition before you participated/challenge and how did you fix it?
I always love going out, indulge in outdoor activity and I was already taking part in marathons and also used to go for trekking. When I heard about Oxfam Trail Walk through my organisation I was really excited and this was something new and challenging for me and I really wanted to be part of this activity because in my mind I was quite sure that I could do this. When I showed my interest to be part of this walk, my colleagues who were going to be part of this event they all were unsure about how I can complete this task without any problem. To be comfortable we all went for few walking practice together and finally it was decided to take on the endeavor.
Anything remarkable that you experienced that you would like to share?
While all contestants were helpful and encouraging but I could have not completed the walk without my team – Ashok Payal, and Sheetal, we motivating and cheering each other throughout the 48 hours. It was one for all and all for one.
Your message to those who can't see and also to those who can see.
My message will be for those who are like me that, never be afraid of challenges and try to come out of comfort zone. Message for sighted world is that, do not assume at the initial stage we will not be able to do certain things we just need opportunity and by your encouragement and support we can make world more inclusive and happy place to live in which everyone can live without any discrimination.
Anything else that you would like to share apart from what you have been asked?
One thing that I would like to ask from people with vision, would be to not be stuck with views. Support from Society as a whole can help transform us from disabled to differently abled.
And for people who are related to someone disabled, I wish to inform them that there is a thin line between caring and caging. We fall before we learn to walk. Post losing my vision, I also fell a lot before I learned to walk. And I fall today as well. But whatever little I have been able to achieve is because I fell and got up. If I didn’t tried and failed, I won’t have been able to do anything. So if you care about someone who is disabled, do not stop them from trying something. Be with them, ensure their protection, let them fall but then help them get up. Try to be helpful to make them independent. Not dependent.