Most of us seek happiness through a multitude of channels. From pursuing professional passions to personal ones – the road to happily ever after is different for each of us. For Sai Kaustav, graphic designer, happiness coach, and motivational speaker, the road has been a difficult yet fulfilling one.
Living Life On His Own Terms
Diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta or Brittle Bone disease at a young age, Sai fractured his first bone when he was less than four months old. By the time he was one, he had suffered through three more injuries. According to Sai, at a certain point in his life, fractures were almost a daily part of his life – challenging circumstances for an artistic child who loved to dance.
However, Sai was determined to create, regardless of form. When the doctors advised him to stop dancing, he began to sing. Today, he has won awards for his beautiful voice and has even sung professionally.
Sai’s unique outlook and zest for life have guided his choice of profession. After being bedridden and depressed for six years, a friend suggested he delve into graphic designing. At the time, Sai had only the use of one finger on his left hand and was otherwise paralysed. Today, he has clients from all over the world.
Choosing Happiness As A Way Of Life
First and foremost, Sai considers himself a happiness coach. He explains, “Whatever work I am doing I should be happy for that. So, happiness coach is the first thing. Then motivational speaker, because people nowadays need more motivation than medicines. Because we need to see something which can inspire you. Medicine will not give you that empowerment, and that joy of seeing others being successful.”
He adds, “I love to design. I not only design for my profession – and say that OK I will design and people will pay me for that – but I design to make people happy. I don’t think that my designs will reflect that I have 90% disability on hand. From the beginning of my career in designing, I have always tried to create such designs that will not reflect that I am disabled.”
The Philosophy Behind His Smile
Sai firmly believes in the power of the smile. He says, “Happiness coaching does not mean that I will do up to the stage and preach happiness. Because you can find great books on happiness and great motivational videos. Happiness starts from the home. In your surrounding areas, in your parents, brothers or sisters – start from there. First, you need to make them happy. Because that will reflect back to you. They will make you happy also.”
He elaborates, “Then go to the other areas of life and start telling people about what your happiness stands for. Appreciate people for their skills. That will make them happy. The simple way to define happiness coaching is – when you smile from the heart, it makes you happy, which can be reflected back to others. So, as a happiness coach, wherever I go, I talk about how to keep aside all your suffering, and how you shouldn’t think that you can’t do anything.”
Sai advises, “Start happiness in your home and become a happiness icon, and everyone around you will say – aap se milkar tho bahut kush ho jaate hain. You are such a great person. This will come automatically. Just become happy and be yourself. Be alive. And, you know, I always feel that before any part of our lives we need to die. So many people that we see in our day-to-day lives – they die before they die. With their anxieties, with their problems and everything else. So don’t die before you die. Be happy. And that is the thing that makes others happy and keeps them motivated.”
Bringing About Change
Sai is a passionate supporter of inclusive efforts and is always ready to spread awareness about the cause. He truly believes that acceptance leads to productivity. Sai has experienced firsthand the problems that disabled persons in our country often face.
He says, “I finished my 7th standard in Siliguri in North Bengal, and then we shifted to Andhra Pradesh. After that, I continued with distance education in Andhra Pradesh. But soon I was completely bedridden. I was confined. I had to discontinue because, in our part of the country, there was no help at the school or college. I had to appear for BA examinations and at that time I studied for the whole year, but by the end of the year, my situation was worse. So I had to discontinue.”
He adds, “No one helped me to pursue more. There was no scribe – nothing was there. I had to discontinue.” Thankfully, a friend of Sai’s recently stepped in and motivated him to complete his degree. In two years, he predicts, he will have his BCom undergraduate degree.
The Power Of Role Models
Despite these setbacks, Sai rejects the idea of constraints and instead focuses on achieving his own ambitions. His beliefs are simple, “If they believe that they are caged, then they are.”
His family and friends have been a great source of support over the course of his journey. He has also drawn comfort and inspiration from his role models. He says, “Apart from my parents and younger brother, I have always taken motivation from Stephen Hawking and Helen Keller – especially because these people are more disabled than us – but they have shaken the world with their willpower and positive thinking. They are role models.”
We can’t help but think that Sai is a pretty amazing role model himself! In his own words, “Be inspirational, be motivated always. Do what good you can.” We can’t wait to see what this creative mind dreams up next – we’re sure it will be as colourful and innovative as he is!
Takeaway – Habits That Help!
Sai says, “I have the habit of praying. Praying to the almighty. I have always believed that there is no discrimination between religions, but first of all, if we are happy that’s the grace of the Almighty. So, you may not believe in god, but have the habit of praying. Pray for yourself. That helps you to get positive vibes. Because when you speak something, your ears listen to it first. So pray for yourself, pray for your well-wishers, pray for your loved ones and near ones. That will make you stronger. Because when you pray for others, they will also pray for you. So, I always pray for all the people in this world.
KnowYourStar.com (KYS) interviewed Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta as part of the India Inclusion Summit(IIS). IIS is a platform that brings awareness and drives the inclusion of specially-abled people in corporate organisations, schools, policymaking and NGOs. KYS is the official blogging partner for IIS, and backs the event wholeheartedly. Let’s build a more Inclusive India!
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