Vidisha Baliyan - Loud and Clear!
Vidisha Baliyan says, “I was 5 when my parents found out that I was partially deaf. When the doctor advised them to admit me into a special school, my parents retorted. They wanted me to grow in an environment that was free from stigma. But, things only went in the opposite direction later on.
My 100% hearing impairment in one ear and 90% in the other left me with no friends. Not a lot of people would look forward to talking to me. Instead, they’d mock me because I would take a long time grasping and understanding the lessons. I’d try to lip-read what my teachers said. After coming home, my parents would spend hours with me, reading aloud all the chapters in my book. Despite all these efforts, academics remained rocket science to me.
So, I decided to take part in sports. Though I was good at team sports like basketball there was a communication gap that couldn’t be pared. My coach advised me to try out tennis. Not only did I fall in love with the sport, but I finally felt the confidence in myself that I’d be craving for years.
My happiness knew no bounds when I got selected for the Summer Deaflympics. Even with a severe back injury that happened during my training, I managed to secure the fifth position. However, taking the adverse effects into picture, my doctor asked me to take a break. ‘If you don’t take this break, you might not be able to play for the rest of your life’ he said.
I was heartbroken. Tennis gave me a new life. Despite my lack of speech, it was through tennis that I told my story to the world. How could I let go? Soon, I slipped into depression.
However, that dark and silent chaos came with a ray of hope! I came across the Ms. Deaf Pageant in India and decided to give it a shot. Since I had an athletic physique, it was hard to train my body for a beauty pageant. The shift from sports shoes to heels wasn’t easy. But, I didn’t give up and became the first Indian to bag the Ms.Deaf World!
From being identified as the Vidisha who couldn’t hear to becoming The state-level Champion Vidisha and now Ms.Deaf World! The titles may have changed over time, but the aim behind grinding for them has always been the same – to live a story that’s worth listening to.”