Rinkoo Gupta – Interior Designer | Survivor | Buddhist
She is my Laughing Buddha. She is my survivor out of the woods. Utopian and courageous, she believes in making things happen and not waiting for things to happen. I have known her for two decades and more and she is right there … not just in my inner circle but as someone who holds the baton as the lady with gumption, courage, strong and a doer all the way. I am proud to know her … She exudes nothing but warmth, light and love. Read her story… Her courage is infectious 🙂
- Rinkoo, Introduce yourself 🙂
My journey of challenges began even before I was aware of them from Having survived 3 life threatening accidents before the age of 10… till today when life has thrown so many challenges to my face, time and again. All I say, “Bring It On” and I fight back …
2. Tell us about your marriage, Rinkoo.
I belong to a religious, culturally rooted and a very disciplined Marwari family. My mother has always instilled deeper values of family life in us and education was of utmost importance. I completed my post graduation in Interior Designing with flying colours and got a great job at a very prestigious company. Life was perfect and I couldn’t have asked for more to be grateful. I am a pretty independent girl and at that career seemed to be the thing to focus on, but my parents wanted me to get married at the ‘proper age’ – and this chapter of my life was an eye opener for me too coz I did not know I could be as courageous to stand up for myself.
I was engaged to be married soon, but soon I realised that the groom’s family had asked for dowry. While it is common place to ask for dowry amongst our community and many more communities in India, I was just not willing. Not at all. I could not imagine to be standing at the altar to be wedded feeling like I was being traded. I was and am a strong, independent woman and I couldn’t imagine that a guy would need anything more than myself to become my companion for life. With lot of courage (and it’s a lot of COURAGE for a Marwari girl to stand up for herself to call off her own wedding in a Marwari community) I stood up against dowry and broke my engagement – These were the times where my extended family looked down upon me and it was a stressful time not just for me but for my family too. But my family stood by me and I stood up not caring about anyone for what was right.
Eventually I did meet my husband and got married … a guy who believed in me for who I am and was and did not believe in dowry.
3. When did your health issues start?
The first health issue started in 2006 when I was diagnosed with a rare Neurological disorder which put a very high pressure on my brain. I had 24 hours excruciating headaches every single day which was slowly progressing towards total blindness. I was put on high doses of life-saving drugs which sadly also had life long side effects. I was by told by not less than 15 renowned doctors that I wouldn’t conceive in the normal way due to my Neurological problems & high level of prolactin, A difficult brain surgery was put on the cards too.
I started spending my days were at the hospital for hours getting my eyes and other parameters checked, going to work post hospital visits and make presentations with dilated vision (did I tell you I am an Interior Designer and I have long hours of working before the computer), back from office and do all my chores at home.
I decided it was enough as it had alreeady been 4 years of fighting neurological problems. I wanted to go the family way, but my family and doctors were worried for my future. But i took up Yoga to stay calm and focus which helped me a lot.
Finally I conceived my baby naturally which surprised my doctors but they were happy for me. But it did not come easy. – My pregnancy was the most happy stage of my life in spite of fighting alongside of my pregnancy – gestational diabetes – I was on strict diet, Migraine, Kidney stones, UTI , high BP and a constant threat of termination of my pregnancy if any parameters changed with my brain pressure were constant debilitating factors.
My Gynaecologist had termed me as a high risk patient . She organised for a neurosurgeon and an opthalmic surgeon to be available for me during my delivery in case of an emergency. I delivered normally which was shocking considering all the issues that I had. But it did not end there. I had uterus haemorrhage followed by kidney stone surgery within 15 days of giving birth and postpartum depression.
4. That is amazing Rinkoo. So how was your health after the baby. Did you start to get any better?
I had hoped 🙂
Soon life was smooth and I resumed my work after maternity leave but I was asked to quit by my doctors as I was soon diagnosed with another rare ortho problem (AVN). My hip bones had collapsed due to which I had shooting pain in my legs and I couldn’t walk or climb stairs and even asked to not carry my 5 month old baby.
I was asked to undergo an immediate bone grafting surgery to avoid total collapse of my hip or push the inevitable surgery of total Hip Replacement (which was strictly not advisable at the age of 29). My surgery was conducted where my doctor said the success rate of this surgery was very low but he was willing to give it a try for me
During and after the surgery I refused to take any antibiotics and completely refused to stop nursing my baby as I was given an option to stop feeding my child. But I chose the former option.
It was the most painful surgery where they has taken 4 inches bone from my calf and fixed to the hip. Just walking a few yards again was a humungous task and all these I managed with simple paracetamol and not antibiotics. My physiotherapist was shocked to see I was only on pain killers and not masked with high doses of antibiotics.
After surgery my doctor gave a standing instruction to follow few things in this life time. No dancing, no Aerobics, no High Heels, no climbing the stairs etc…doctors also told me to forget about my career for 1 year and concentrate on getting healthier first. I was fit & perfect within 3 months and was back at my work place (As an Interior Designer standing long hours on site / Climbing up stairs is part of my job)
Life moved on and the rare surgery whose success rate was low, worked for me for many years. But eventually my other hip gave up and I started limping … I couldn’t find any strength to walk…or sit down … Excruciating pain was now part of my life. I started seriously considering buying shoes with wheels as I just couldn’t walk.
My family were disheartened seeing my condition and took me to the best Ortho in Mumbai who was surprised to see me go about with my life and asked me “How are you even able to walk or do work????” He told me to go for total hip surgery ASAP (his words were why are u driving an old car if you can get a new one).
I was supposed to undergo a 10 hours long surgery which would take 3 months recovery. But was told since now I was 35 years, If I lived until the age of 60 I would have to do 4 hip surgeries as IT has a limited time frame.
This is when I decided again to have the strongest legs – With the power of my faith and my practice in Buddhism I determined to have strongest pair of legs to spread Hope, Joy & courage around.
I completely indulged in having a healthy & fit lifestyle ( I took up Aqua aerobics, Pilates, controlled my weight with strict diets, gymmed on regular basis) and chanted to remain Positive, Happy and Full of Courage.
It’s been four years now since the doctor asked me to have SOS surgery. Today I stand Tall & Proud. There was a time when I couldn’t walk for 5 minutes, now I run for 45 mins. I love dancing so I dance my heart out, I also wear heels when I have to make an impression 😉
I have completely turned my situation around and it is all because of my faith.
5. So how is life treating you now? Or rather should I say, how are you treating Life now? 🙂
I have always lived with gratitude in my heart. In spite of all my problems, I know I am still blessed and that is my biggest strength. My clients whose homes I have designed for so many years are now my good friends with whom I catch up for coffee that’s my biggest appraisal from them. I believe in a beautiful phrase from 3 Idiots Movie: “Chase excellence and success will Follow automatically”
I run a company with happy people as my support system, my clients are happy with my work and are willing to wait for my time 😊
I have created a world which is full of life, Hope, Courage & happiness.
My sister and I also took the bold step TO STAND UP AND GET our MUM to REMARRY AT THE AGE OF 60 AFTER OUR FATHER’S PASSING AWAY AND we are happy today KNOWING SHE IS HAPPY!
My goal & mission in life is to spread joy around me
My daughter is my star she is my rock star – she is fearless, and a happy child who wants to stop bullying and help all her friends in need, she is the most compassionate person I know!!
She chants with me every day to have a successful and value adding day.
I have able to conquer one obstacle after another with the power of my Faith in my practice of Buddhism which has given me a clear path, Hope & courage to never say Why Me but rather say Try me.
There are days in my life when I feel … I can’t do it anymore … I just remember one phrase, “Winter Always Turns into spring” and get back to fight more ferociously.
Having said that I am still fighting health issues but I am sure It will pass very smoothly just like there was Brain surgery, No blindness, No Total Hip surgery. These residual issues will fade away too make me stronger day by day to leave a positive outlook for so many people who are fighting fierce battles.