Geet is a popular youth icon of the day. She is an active social worker who is spreading awareness through her short videos on various social evils like child labour, gender discrimination, injustice to daughters-in-law and many more. Geet is bound to wheelchair but that doesn’t stop her from chasing her dreams to be a model and actor. She has an engineering degree with a doctorate in law and used to work in the US. She quit her well-paying job to work for the welfare of children living in slums in India.
Geet was only 10 years old when she met with a car accident. “When I was just 10 years old, my family and I were in a devastating car accident. One moment, I was sleeping in the back seat of my parent’s car, with no worries in the world, and the next moment, when I woke up, there were ambulances all around and doctors told my parents that I would never walk again. I suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the waist down. Unable to feel or move my legs, I was confined to a wheelchair. Immediately, I spiraled into depression. It was such a traumatic time for me that I don’t really remember much of it. But, my mom tells me that I used to cry all the time because I felt like my life was over. My dreams were shattered. I would never be able to be or do anything by myself. I would be an invalid for the rest of my life. Everywhere I went, people stared at me and felt sorry for me. I felt sorry for myself” says Geet.
The doctors said that she would never be able to walk again. She thought she would never be able to be anything in her life. But she moved on from this dark phase of her life and proved her worth to the world.“It would have been so easy for me to just say I can’t” she says. Just after three months, Geet went back to school and participated in all school events including sports. She was elected Student Body President for her school, participated in the school drama production and won several academic competitions. She was always a bright student and class topper. Like most Indian parents, her parents too wanted her to study engineering, which she did. She topped in her graduation with a bachelor of engineering. She also studied and earned her doctor of law degree.
“I can’t – it is the beginning of every regret. It is the end of all hope. It is the universal excuse to not even try,”- Geet
Geet did not let her physical disability hold her back. Instead of being someone who needs help, she is helping others. Geet has also started her journey to become the first mainstream ‘wheelchair actor’ in Indian film industry. Growing up, she wanted one thing from life. She wanted to make a difference. She wanted to change the world. She wanted to leave an impact. That is why she switched careers from Engineering to Law. She thought, as a lawyer she could help people. And she did. Geet worked on several pro bono cases free of charge. But it didn’t satisfy her.
“I volunteered at homeless shelters, the juvenile jail, hospitals, schools, community centers. But it still wasn’t enough.” – Geet
A few years ago, Geet left everything to move to India to work with slum children full time. Currently she is running a small NGO through which she is trying to help underprivileged children and at-risk youth. She goes her with her team into the slums and through story-telling, song, dance and drama, and tries to teach them positive values and encourage them to dream and succeed in life. Every week she teaches several hundred underprivileged children positive values such as ethical behavior, helping others, stranger danger, reporting abuse, etc. She also tries to help provide for the children’s needs by organizing medical camps, distributing soap and toothbrushes, organizing the donation of over 1000 sweaters every winter and more.
There is one more dream Geet had as a child, and that was to be an actress. Her journey started as a child performing at the dinner table. She went onto acting in school dramas and taking every acting class she could through school and college. After college, she started writing and directing small productions for community events and street drama to perform in market places and slums. There was a time of discouragement when in 12th grade a teacher told her she was not good enough to be on stage because she was in a wheelchair, and so she only belonged backstage. After that, though Geet continued to improve her skills through countless classes and directed others in acting. She was too disillusioned to give any audition to act on stage. That is, until, India’s Best Cine Stars Ki Khoj.
Geet had been seeing the ads for the reality show on TV, but ignored them for the most part, thinking, “They wouldn’t want me.” Then her sister saw that the Delhi auditions were just 3 days away, she began pushing her to give it a try. She was hesitant, but then decided to go for it, just for fun. She didn’t expect that she would even make it past the first audition. But, to her surprise, she began clearing audition after audition. And as she experienced success, her passion for acting was rekindled. It became a way to challenge herself and expand her acting abilities. She would perform for her family and friends, just to see their reaction, and was pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback.
Geet cleared several auditions, in Delhi and even traveled to Mumbai twice. She made it to the top 75 in the nation. But then one of the final audition rounds was a dance round. At that point, Geet was disqualified. But for her, this was an awesome experience and showed her that she truly can act and that her acting can be appreciated, even though she is in a wheelchair. But, Geet still not sure whether or not the public was ready to accept an actress in a wheelchair. So to test this, Geet began her Facebook page (TheOfficialGeet) about a year and a half ago. And to her surprise, within 6 months, she had over 1.5 million supporters from around the globe joining her on her journey to become India’s First Wheelchair Actress.
Geet realizes that practically there are very few roles for disabled actors in cinema today. That is why she has taken the help of social media, to raise awareness and showcase hertalent. She creates motivational short films and puts them on the net. She has received a positive response for them. She hopes that as word spreads maybe someone in the film industry in India will take note and give her a chance for at least an audition. And in the process, through here page, she daily motivates people from all walks of life to achieve their dreams and not let set backs hold them back.
Geet’s biggest challenge has been overcoming the stereotypes associated with being a person with a disability.
The biggest stereotype has been, that a person with a disability “can’t” do much of anything. At times, she even begun to believe this. But even when she would think, “I can’t,” her family would encourage her that “you can.” And with their support, she has proven over and over again to herself and to those around her that with God she can do all things.
“Concentrate on what you can do, rather than on what you can’t do, and God will make all things possible.”
Geet chooses to focus on her abilities and my strengths and utilize them. She believes in the power of prayer. Geet thinks everyone in this world has inabilities, things we can’t do. When she was just ten years old, she was in a car accident in which she injured her spinal cord and lost the use of her legs. Before the accident, she could run and jump and dance like any other little kid, but after the accident, she was confined to wheelchair. When someone is in a wheelchair it is assumed that they are helpless and their life is almost over. Geet too could have believed that stereotype and thought that she can’t do anything anymore, she can’t be what she wants to be. But instead, she believed…she believed that although she couldn’t use her legs anymore, she could still use her arms, her eyes, her ears, her mouth, her smile. Geet could still use so many things to accomplish her dreams. Instead of thinking ‘I can’t’, she believed that with God she can. And she continue to believe that.
To women who are striving to make their dreams a reality, Geet gives this simple advice: