I entered the world 21 years ago in a small city Muzaffarnagar, UP. Soon after birth, my speech delay alarmed my parents that something was wrong. I was diagnosed as ‘deaf’ which has become my identity in this world.
My one ear has 100% hearing loss and the other has 90%. Many people avoided speaking to me as it required patience and extra effort so I started getting better at reading their lips instead. It has not been an easy life but there has always been a silver lining in every cloud.
Growing up I didn’t have many friends and found comfort in my family and my interests. I couldn’t listen to the music but that didn’t stop me from copying the steps of gracious Bollywood heroines. I was bullied while playing basketball so I switched to an individual sport Tennis where I won two silver medals in National Games and held the 5th rank in Deaflympics 2017, Turkey.
I am a fitness enthusiast and enjoy doing yoga and taking care of myself. As I was living an active lifestyle playing for hours daily I faced a severe back injury which inhibited me to play further. It was a huge blow for me and I sunk into depression. But not for long. My family and God are always on my side.
Like they didn’t let me go to a special school when it was an easier choice to make. My mother has always stood by me and so has my extended family. They knew I am born for better things. Soon, as destiny had it, I came across the pageant Miss Deaf India.
I found a ray of hope again. The training I underwent for the pageant gave me a new purpose to live. My drive to win the pageant came from the fact that I want to give other ‘deaf’ people a voice.
There’s so much untapped talent hearing-impaired people have. I want to provide them a platform and acceptance in a society which usually lacks tolerance for disability.
And I won the contest. My confidence soared and I knew immediately that nothing bad ever happens in life if we trust ourselves and don’t give up. I hope to make my mark in Miss Deaf World so that people like me all over the world are inspired to live a better life.
Currently, my days are packed with training for Miss Deaf World held in South Africa on July 12th, 2019. My days are busy in learning, practicing and grooming myself for the upcoming contest.
What I realized is that these beauty pageants are not just about the outer beauty and clothes but more about the confidence that shines from within. No makeup or designer can bring that confidence. This confidence comes from accepting ourselves and loving ourselves unconditionally. Earlier being labeled as ‘deaf’ was bothersome but now I know one truth: ‘You have to be happy with whatever you are.
I am a proud Miss Deaf India and soon to be Miss Deaf World with all your support and love.
Please help me make our nation proud. Support me all the way.
Guest Author: Vidisha Baliyan (Miss India Deaf 2019)