Losing my Hand in an Accident Did Not Stop Me from Living my Life and Becoming a Chartered Accountant

  • “Whether you think You Can or Think You Can’t, You're Right.”
  • Hi! I am Ritu Sharma, a Chartered Accountant from India who has worked and lived in Dubai, travelled to several countries and now a finance professional based out of India.
  • But what is special about me? Nothing…. except, that at the age of 18 I lost my ‘right hand’ in an accident!
  • Life had not charted out an easy path for me, but I never lost hope...instead I made the most of it by overcoming every challenge with a smile.
  • Here is my story of how making the 'Right Choice' amidst challenges helped me. 

Losing my 'right hand' in an accident at the age of 18!

I grew up in the capital of India, Delhi, in a conservative family, believing in hard work and responsibility. I grew up to treat others with kindness and think from another's perspective.

I have always been very ambitious...always wanting to do something with my life! 

Life was going on smoothly when on the 3rd of October, 2006 I met with a severe accident.

To save my life, the doctors had to amputate my hand on the same day. Unfortunately, I got to know about this only when I woke up the next morning and realised, I had my right hand missing…trust me, it was the scariest thing ever!

I screamed aloud in despair. I was almost paralyzed in fear - fear of facing the world, fear of leaving my remaining life and dealing with this!

I thought that it was the end of my world...after all, I was a young ambitious girl who wanted to conquer the world!

That day, I did not know what to do.

Acceptance is the best way to deal with situations that you cannot control

“If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl. Whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

Growing up my mom would always tell me - 'First we make our choices. Then our choices make us.' I was taught early on to make the right choices even when it is the hardest thing to do.

I knew I was not doing myself (and my family especially my father ) any favour by wallowing in self-pity.

I decided to get back on my feet almost immediately. I picked up the pieces, accepted my new reality and vowed to excel in everything I do.

Nevertheless, it was not easy, as I had to work twice as hard. I understood “THE LAW OF PAYING THE PRICE”. This means that I had to put the right efforts and be persistent towards my goals. Giving up was never an option.

During my 3-months stay in the hospital, I started feeling better. Those who came to visit me with sad faces left with a smile after seeing my liveliness.

But what next? Now, the biggest challenge was to 'relearn' mundane things and become self-dependent. I tried using my left hand to write! Every day I got better and better. That was one big achievement!

In the face of all the difficulties and challenges, there was a steadiness in me. This does not mean that I was never upset or low.

I did have my low moments. I did feel worthless sometimes. However, I picked myself up each time and became ready to face life head-on.

My never give up attitude made me a Chartered Accountant

“If it happens according to your wish, it is good.  If it doesn’t, it’s even better. Because it is God’s wish.”

Life kept moving on. I kept improving and life resumed to normalcy.

I gave my graduation exams and cleared them too. I was progressing in my career but what next?

When I was in school I had the ambition to become a Chartered Accountant.

In fact, I even wanted to pursue CA right after class 12 (like most CA aspirants in India) but I couldn’t do so due to some family issues.

So, in 2008, after my graduation, I thought to myself, “Why to give up on my dream of becoming a Chartered Accountant?”

I informed my family and a few friends and most of them were of the opinion that CA was a very difficult and long-term course and that, given my situation it would be even more difficult to clear!

Luckily a good friend of mine encouraged me to pursue CA and told me 'You can do it, Ritu. At least give it a try!'

And with those words of encouragement, I enrolled for the CA course!

I gave my best and cleared the first two CA levels in the first attempt. It was at this time that my family saw a rising star in me. Other CA students also started looking up to me for inspiration!

By the time I started preparing for my CA Final exams, I had great confidence and planned to clear them as well in the first attempt...but, things did not turn out the way I wanted it to!

Due to some issues, I could not appear for a few attempts. I felt the lowest in my life. All my aspirations were shattered. However, I was still persistent in my efforts.

Finally, I cleared the Chartered Accountancy course in Nov-14 and became a Chartered Accountant...such an accomplishment for me and my family!

Carving my own career path: Moving to Dubai 

Firstly, I come from a conservative family where most girls live with their parents until they get married! So, not even in my wildest dreams, I thought of moving away from my family let alone working abroad.

By the end of 2014, my life had changed so much that I decided I needed an escape. I decided to move from Delhi.

So, when I became a CA in Jan 2015, I started looking for outside India as well.

As many people know, Dubai is a great country for expats offering amazing opportunities! I too decided to move to Dubai.

What next? Now it was time to find a job! I did a lot of homework, approached few companies and luckily, got some offers as well.

On 29th April 2015, I landed in Dubai on an ‘Employment Visa with a job in hand’ with limited knowledge about the place and almost no contacts.

Luckily, in no time, Dubai became like my second home!

After completing almost four years in Dubai and two promotions in my first job in Corporate Finance with extensive exposure to international Financing and sourcing, I was looking for my next move.

I wanted to work with large financial companies like MNC Banks, International NBFCs, etc and that is when I found an opportunity in India in Finance Planning & Analysis in the 2nd largest bank in the US!

How you can respond when you face a differently-abled person?

I have been having this disability for 13 years now. I’m very much used to people saying - "I'm sorry” or that they “feel pity for me”. But let me tell you this. We do not look for sympathy.

I agree that when you look at a person with sympathy, you tend to sympathize and feel bad for them. Remember this. “Not all sympathy seekers are disabled and not all disabled people are sympathy seekers” 

The moment a person with a disability starts feeling that they are different from others, it validates the sense of insecurity they have.

Again, physical disability does not, in any way, prevent a person from achieving his or her goals.

So, this is what I would suggest you should do when you meet a differently-abled person - Do not sympathize. Instead, say something uplifting to the person!

Wrapping up...

“Accept What Can’t Be Changed and Change What Can Be”

Sometimes, people stay in denial when they face a tough phase in life. Instead of accepting it, they start thinking, “How can this happen to me? or why this happen to me?”

The worst thing we can do is to succumb to the 'Victimitis Virus' and make the situation more awful by throwing 'pity parties in pity city'.

I am no one to advise but, can only say:

The big, beautiful sea

Is full of life’s emotions.

When you try to swim to the end,

Every obstacle is a wave in motion.

Don’t give up! Keep on swimming!

Don’t be a shell and smile.

Give life all you got. Fly with the gazelles.

It’s time to live and leave that frown for a while.

Ritu Sharma is a Chartered Accountant with more than 7 years of comprehensive experience in the finance sector. She has great exposure to various financial processes, international laws and regulations. With strong interpersonal and relationship management skills she has developed a strong network of individuals and institutions.

Now It's Your Turn...

What have you learnt from Ritu's journey? Do you feel making the right choice in challenges can make life better?

(Article edited by CA Uma Krishna and image by Ankit Lodhi)

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