A much-needed dose of positivity


Former Navy officer and wheelchair user Vijay K Nair’s “nuggets of wisdom” spread positivity amid the pandemic gloom

I am awake at 7 am, feeling a bit blue. I reach for my phone and see a familiar name in my inbox. I open it to a message: “There is no dearth of reasons to be happy in this world. It’s there all around us, hidden in unexpected places, waiting to be discovered by you….” The note works for me just as well as a cup of strong filter coffee would.

For the past nine months, every day — without a break — has begun with a similar dose of positivity. The sender, who calls these messages “small shareable nuggets of wisdom”, hopes he can brighten up the day of at least one recipient. For the past one-and-a-half years Vijay K Nair has been sending out these positive quotes to his network of friends and acquaintances.

A commissioned officer in the electrical branch of the Indian Navy (of the rank of Lieutenant), Vijay met with a near-fatal road accident in 2009 while on duty outside the Naval Base at Jamnagar, Gujarat. The motorcycle accident left him paralysed following injuries to his head and spine. He had a brain and spine surgery and was unconscious for “a very long time”. Vijay was later shifted to the Military Hospital in Pune where he regained his senses.

Vijay spent five years at the Military Hospital, recouping and preparing himself for a life in the wheelchair. His speech was slightly impaired and he knew he had to accept the reality of living with a permanent disability. “My mother stood by me every minute and it empowered me to move on,” he says. Settled in Aluva now, the 36-year-old says the time he spent with himself and the silence helped him understand the nuances of the human mind. “A pessimist sees problems where there are none. An optimist can become so complacent that he doesn’t see the problem where there is one, and doesn’t act. A realist combines both … Be a realist,” reads one of Vijay’s quotes.

He lives with his mother and though he has an assistant, he has been 80 % independent for over two years. He had always loved writing and in the initial days after his relocation to Kerala, he wrote content for e-commerce websites. “I started feeling that all I was doing was helping people sell products. I wanted to serve a higher purpose and started writing down positive notes on my blog (vijaynairblog.wordpress.com),” he shares. “Expect less than what you give the world, and expect more from yourself ,” he summarises one of his own quotes.

Apart from penning his thoughts as motivational quotes, he enjoys writing poetry. “I only write things that can benefit the reader; I don’t write to entertain.” Born and raised in Mumbai, Vijay joined the Indian Navy through the technical officers’ entry after completing his Class XII. After three years of military training, he completed his BTech and joined as an electrical officer in 2005. He served for five years before the accident. Today, Vijay lives on a monthly disability pension from the Navy. He hopes to get his quotes and poems compiled into a book some day. “Nothing of value can be achieved without a fight. You either fight circumstances or your own weaknesses. But fight, you must,” he signs off.

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