By Arnab Mitra
A terrible accident in 2006 changed the life of a former national badminton champion, Baishakhi Deb. Baishakhi, with her fiancé Kaushik Pandey and her employee Sreetilekha Ghosh, was on her way to the office on the early morning of 27th August, 2006, when the accident happened in front of ITC Sonar Bangla. It took the life of Kaushik and Sreetilekha, and Baishakhi’s body was cleft into pieces.
Baishakhi started her journey on a high note and was crowned ‘sub-junior’ national champion at the age of 13. But this was before she met with an accident.
In an interaction with NewsGram, Baishakhi told that she lost her leg in the accident and her bone was totally fractured. She is now surviving with the support of 98 rods, 148 screws and 1 cage, all made of titanium plate. But the love for badminton and her strong determination is keeping her alive. She joined the Para-Badminton in 2014 and became the national ‘Para-Badminton’ champion in 2015.
Arnab Mitra: You are in sports with an artificial support. What drives you?
Baishakhi Deb: I love the game. At the age of six, I first got my racket as a birthday gift from my father. After that ill-fated day of the accident, I had lost every spirit of my life but when I won the national ‘Para-Badminton’ championship this year, I finally realized the true essence of my life. Badminton is one of my true friends and I want to live my life with it.
AM: Who is your coach for the game?
Baishakhi Deb: I am preparing under best national Para-Badminton coaches, Anand Kumar in Bangalore and Bimal Poddar in Kolkata.
AM: You are going to participate in ‘World Championship’ in Indonesia and England. What are your expectations?
Baishakhi Deb: I am confident to get the title in both of these events. Also, I have to make a good start in Indonesia as my career depends a lot on that competition. If I fail there, I will not get sponsorship for the England tour. The Rotary club is sponsoring me for my Indonesia tour.
AM: Are you getting any support from West Bengal government?
Baishakhi Deb: No. I appealed to the then sports minister Madan Mitra to help me but I didn’t get any response from them. Recently, I had a talk with Karnataka government. If I don’t get any positive assurance from West Bengal, I will play under Karnataka.
AM: Tell me more about that accident?
Baishakhi Deb: We were on the way to our office on the early morning of August 27, 2006. Suddenly our driver started competing with another car and before we could comprehend anything, it hit the bumper. What makes me sad is that the tragedy happened one month before I was going to be married.
AM: ‘Rash Driving’! Why didn’t you complain against the driver?
Baishakhi Deb: After the accident, I filed an FIR against the driver Sikhander Ram. But till now, he has not been arrested and the company gave him the required shelter. He is now living freely in Topsia.
AM: Did your company, Aegis BPO pay for your treatment?
Baishakhi Deb: No, they didn’t even give my insurance money and mediclaim.
AM: Your body was totally fractured. How did you recover? Who is the man behind your new life?
Baishakhi Deb: In one word, it is a miracle thanks to the Orthopedist Doctor, Aloy Jyoti Kundu. I will never forget his contribution in my new life. I was really upset when the doctors from Vellore refused to handle my case. Maybe it was my good luck that I got in touch with Doctor Kundu and his treatment gave me a new life.
AM: Didn’t you get any support from government at that time?
Baishakhi Deb: No, but the present government has helped us a lot. Our local MLA Doctor Manish Gupta arranged for everything when I was on bed at Nil Ratan Sircar Hospital. Also, I want to thank the local counselor Bappaditya Dasgupta for his enormous help.
AM: You will have to leave badminton after a certain age. Any plans for future?
Baishakhi Deb: I want to see myself as a coach after I will retire from my professional arena.
Here is a link of Baisakhi Deb practising in Ambedkar Stadium, Bangalore: VID_20150507_102609