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Terror victim fights odds to become CA

Rahim

Married!
He may have become a paraplegic after Mumbai's 7/11 blasts, but that hasn't stopped Chirag Chauhan from realising his dream of clearing the CA exam. He now works in a multinational bank and drives a customised car

While depressing news arrived on Saturday, with Sunder Singh Bisht and Ajay Sohram Verma, victims of the July 13 terror attack, succumbing to their injuries at JJ Hospital, a story of hope has emerged from the 7/11 blasts.

Chirag Chauhan, a 24 year-old Kandivli resident who survived the 7/11 terror attacks in 2006 but was left a paraplegic, has succeeded in not just clearing his Chartered Accountancy (CA) exam, but has also secured a job in a multinational bank.

Chauhan had taken a train to return from the CA firm where he was undergoing his Articleship training to his home in Kandivli on that ill-fated day. The blasts that occurred between Santacruz and Khar stations left him bound to a wheelchair.

Foreign particles from the blast continue to be embedded close to his trachea.

"I never thought, even in my wildest dreams, that that would be my last train journey," said Chauhan.
He now drives a customised car to work.

Chauhan pursued his dreams and qualified as a chartered accountant in May 2008, clearing the competitive exam in his very first attempt. A year and a half ago, he landed a job with a multinational bank as senior manager in the Internal Audit Department.

"Physically-challenged people like me have a normal life span too. To become an equal contributor to society, I had to keep the show going," said Chauhan, who lost his father when he was eighteen and lives with his elderly mother.

Remembering the early days of his ordeal, Chauhan said, "There were times when I was fighting with myself and searching for an answer. 'Why me?' I had questions, but no answers. I had to practice to sit on a wheelchair for four hours at a stretch, and then gradually increase the duration." Chauhan underwent rigorous rehabilitation training and said he had to put in extraordinary effort to carry out the most ordinary tasks."

Despite his strength of character and zeal, there were obstacles. "One company after another rejected me because I was physically impaired. They overlooked my education qualifications."

But Chauhan harbours no bitterness. "All said and done, I am grateful for what life has given me. I am still healthy and welcome each day with a smile."

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