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India’s Wheelchair Warrior: Dr. Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta

An International Graphic Designer, a Singer, Music Composer, Happiness Coach, and Motivational Speaker – Dr. Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta did not let his extremely rare condition of Osteogenesis Imperfecta or brittle bones disease ever come in his way of following his dreams. 

Hailed as “Wheelchair Warrior of India” his story proves that with unwavering determination, everything is achievable.

The Beginning

Dr. Dasgupta hails from Siliguri in West Bengal. Born as a normal child, fractures became a common occurrence for him since the age of one-and-half. Worried parents took him to Kolkata, where after undergoing tests and consultations, orthopedics diagnosed him with brittle bone disease. It is a very rare condition with no cure, caused due to the lack of collagen in bones and muscles that make them weak. The bones could break even with the slightest force, like glass. New to the disease, taking care of his condition became a challenge for his parents. But it was their encouragement and belief that motivated Dasgupta to follow his passions.

As a child, he recalls his fascination with dancing which he wanted to pursue a career in, and had also done stage shows. But frequent fractures made it difficult for him to continue with his Kathak classes. His fragile conditions had even barred him from playing outside with other children his age and he would still get the fractures even with all precautions in place. Despite these, his parents encouraged him to get into the school in his area and be with ‘normal’ children.

School and Singing Career

His school life was also marked with numerous fractures and a month and a half of the bed rest followed each. “Even moments of celebrations ended up being moments of suffering for me,” he recalls as he would get a plaster even when friends would shake his hand for topping the class. Kaustuv’s interest in singing, he says, comes from his mother who is a classical singer, and initially started learning from her to become a child singer. In 1999-2000, he was awarded the ‘Dishari’ for his singing for which personalities like Amitabh Bachchan were nominated. He has since become a prominent singer in his state and has performed along with Manna Dey, Anup Jalota, and Anuradha Paduwal.

He remembers how after 2001, he has been confined to a wheelchair as a doctor had plastered his legs in a wrong way when he fractured both after a fall in the washroom. But a mere inability to walk did not deter his dreams to fly. The family moved to Andhra Pradesh, to avail better medical facilities. Kaustuv says he had always wanted to tell people that disability is not a burden to family and society, but has positive sides too. “I discontinued counting my fractures after I had had 50 of them. After that point, I decided to count only my happiness and my blessings.” Presently, only one finger in his left hand is functional and the other has got deformities.

Venture into Graphic Designing and Wheelchair Warrior

As Osteogenesis Imperfecta is a progressive disease with no cure, by 2009, he was confined to his bed due to continuous fractures. The severe condition continued for six long years in which he had to discontinue his music and education. He recalls that as one of the lowest phases of his life. To get himself back together, he decided to learn the computer and handled the mouse with one functional finger. He completed his course on graphic designing and started working, with almost 90% disability!

In 2015, he defied odds and came out of his room with the help of an electric wheelchair, which got him the title of “Wheelchair Warrior.” Since then, he has authored a book and has been a TEDx motivational speaker globally, an entrepreneur, India’s first differently-abled and certified happiness coach along with being a goodwill ambassador.
After all his exceptional achievements, he says his next aim is to make the country disabled-friendly and make people aware.

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