Shattered and giving up on dreams are the natural tendencies of the human being while going through the unpredictable and biggest tragedy of life. But, for Mohammad Shams Alam, 31-year-old, from Mumabai’s Dharavi area, life’s biggest tragedy made him stronger and his dream bigger than earlier. He was diagnosed with a spine tumour and undergoing multiple operations in 2010, Shams was left paraplegic at the age of 23.

Shams’s life was going normal before 2010. While he was in his school he wanted to become a Karate trainer. Since his parents are from Bihar and little conservative they were against of his dream. However, he was very clear about his mission that is why his family pressure did not make him weak in his dream. However, life has something bigger plan for him.

It was 2012 when he was assessed with 100% disability. This not only meant that he could not walk, but he would also have no control over bodily functions too. During that time a doctor told him to try swimming as it keeps the body in movement despite the disability.  

His personal profile and purpose of life has been raised higher than earlier. Earlier he just wanted to become a karate trainer and champion. Now, He has set a record for having completed the longest open-sea swimming by a paraplegic by covering an impressive 8 km in a span of four hours and four minutes in Goa.

Furthermore, Shams said that he has made World Record Academy and Limca Book of World Records. All the while he has completed his mechanical engineering too from Rizvi College, Bandra, Mumbai.

Excerpts of the interview…

What is your daily routine?
I wake up to pray early morning prayer that is observed around 5:30 in the morning now days. In a day I practice swimming for four hours. Earlier I used to work in a firm to earn some penny but it would tire me for swimming that is why I left the job. Moreover, my dream is more important than job.

What was going on in your mind about your life when you were left paraplegic?

Neither I nor my family members had thought of this ever. But, nobody can stop what’s coming in our life. What we can stop is negative thoughts followed by such incidents. Me and my family members were shocked. I was also left shattered. However, my mother gave me strength and that is how my family and I got motivated. I am  thankful to my family members and Allah who gave me so much motivation that I have achieved so much after the incident.
 
Why didn’t you continue the job as you are an engineer?
I never wanted to do a job like many people do. I wanted to be a karate champion and train people. Since I cannot do this now I am doing good in swimming. Money does not matter to me at all. Money is something that can be gained in any profession. I have seen whopping amount of money in my life. Earlier me and my brother would have leather business and earned so much money. However, now the business is owned by my brother only. I don’t have any stake in it. What really matter to me is self satisfaction. I did worked for a company for a short period of time.
 
Don’t you receive taunt for not earning money to support your family?
My father is 80 now and he is not earning at all. I stay at my sister’s place. She has been very supportive of me. I do not receive taunt from my family. As far as society is concerned they might be motivated by my achievements.
 
What’s your next plan?

I want to achieve much more in my life. I want to participate in 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. That is what I am practising for. Furthermore, I want to motivate youth, especially Muslim youth who are deprived of education and motivation for the great purpose in life. I can see many of youth are indulging in bad activities such as drugs and crime. I want to reduce it by motivating them to do something better in life. Our education system is still lack in changing life of such youth.