I recovered and danced again

I recovered and danced again

Salsa exponent Lourd Vijay holds a world record for the maximum number of swing dance flips. A serious ailment set him back, and here he speaks about how he bounced back

Lourd Vijay

At the age of three, I first ventured on stage to dance and thus began my lifelong love for the art. A tumultuous and exciting path that life has led me on and it has been worth every mile. 

I began my training in dance at the age of 16 and have been given the repute of creating a Latin dance revolution in the country by bringing Salsa to India. 

My career in the field of dance has been rewarding. I hold the Guinness World Record for the maximum number of swing dance flips. I have hosted numerous Salsa Congresses and festivals across India and my work has led me to travel the world. 

Straight out of business school and starting my career, owning and running a bottled water company, this is not what I had envisioned but looking back, it is all that I could ask for. 
   On November 1, 2013, my life took a 360 turn. I was wheeled into Jain Hospital, a catheter was shoved down my throat and my tryst with dialysis began. Umpteen tests, countless visits to the hospital, copious amounts of medicines, numerous scans, battling sleepless nights, exhaustion and breathlessness.  

Three years of living with kidney disease was devastating. ‘Positive Thinking’ was the key to surviving the illness. I had to find a way of looking at the brighter side of sickness.

Here’s how I dealt with it. I made a pact to learn one new skill every week like carpentry, welding etc. I kept myself disciplined and did not desist from work or schedules. I caught up with friends regularly to ensure I got a fair share of frolic. I travelled to places close by when I decided I needed a break.

Sickness helped me realise that I had to slow down, seemingly crucial issues with work and the rushed pace of everyday life slowly dwindled into the background. I realised the value of insignificant things that we take for granted. I missed something as simple as a glass of refreshing cold water that I could gulp down. I was only allowed to take 450ml of hot water in a day.

My time at the hospital also helped me learn about the lives of others dealing with sickness. I met people from varying walks of life. Their stories were heart-wrenching. People living on the breadline with teeming hospital bills that left them spent in every sense. The financial burden and the insolvency killed the person faster than the sickness did. So I decided to embark on a mission to save lives by starting the Spreading Hope Foundation. I drove from Chennai to Ladakh last year on a campaign to create awareness about organ donation. 

Through my sickness, I knew I still had some unfinished business left. I now know my calling and I hope to leverage my influence and network to help make life better for others and to give back to the community. The Spreading Hope Foundation is working on funding transplant surgeries for patients who cannot afford it.

My work in the field of dance and arts is far from over. The Indian Society for Performers and Teachers of Dance is working on equipping the young adults from socio-economically weaker sections with the required skills. And this is done through dance to enable them to make a livelihood by becoming a faculty in some of the dance schools. We also plan to set up dance and arts conservatories across the country. 

My message to everyone out there is simple. Live everyday like it’s your last. Treat your body like it’s sacred and attend to every signal that your body gives you. 

A big thanks to the universe, my donor, my family and friends I am now back to living life and doing what I love.  I am back to dancing but this time on a whole new rhythm. 

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