My passion and grit pushes me to try new things: Para-athlete, Gulfam Ahmad

India's national-level para-athlete talks about joining one of India’s biggest men’s pageant, overcoming challenges and staying positive.

Shubarna Mukerji Shu Updated: Sunday, April 04, 2021, 09:10 AM IST

National level para-athlete, Gulfam Ahmad will soon be seen competing at the one of nation’s biggest men’s pageant slated to happen in Goa. Gulfam is not new to the world of fashion and pageantry. He has already won Mr. Wheelchair India competition in the past and currently runs Mr. and Miss Wheelchair India pageant. He is also a motivational speaker, model, actor and powerlifter. He says that he has lived his life on his own terms and is never afraid to chase his dreams. In an interview with FPJ, he talks about his past experiences and what motivated him to enter the showbiz industry. Excerpts:

How did this whole idea come up to join Rubaru Mr. India contest?

I read about Rubaru Mr. India contest on social media. I was aware of its tag as the biggest men’s pageant in India. However, I was not sure about its selection process. In 2020, I read about its rules and norms and applied for it. Like other contestants, I went through the preliminary selection segment and got qualified for the finale. It is such a big platform and I am so glad to be a part of it. Regarding my past accomplishments and milestones, I would like to say that my passion and grit pushes me to try new things.

To my surprise I end up discovering my hidden potential and something new that I can feel proud about. I firmly believe in the saying: The moment you think about quitting just remember the reason why you started.

How has your journey been so far as a finalist of the contest?

It has been fruitful. It does feel great to be associated with the nation’s foremost pageant for men. It has been a great experience over the past few months. We have been getting trained and groomed via the digital platforms. A few months ago we had our first round of preliminary interviews, where we had the opportunity to know a lot about each other. It also helped us in facing interviews in general.

The organisers, Pankaj Kharbanda and Sandeep Kumar, have been guiding us with tips and suggestions. We have been involved in group activities that help us understand the true meaning of team work and sportsmanship. Regular feedbacks have been shared with us regarding our performances during each segment of the pageant. It is indeed a very unique experience and I am enjoying every bit of it. I’m eagerly waiting to meet all my co-contestants and the Rubaru Mr. India team in Goa.

A lot of people look at you as a source of inspiration. How you manage to handle such an image and stay relevant throughout your journey?

I am glad people consider me as their source of inspiration. We can draw inspiration from anything and anywhere. For me my journey to the place where I am today has made me a confident, strong and a determined individual. You need to be aware and informed about things happening around you and the opportunities that are coming your way. A missed opportunity is worse than having no opportunity at all. I do not want to have any regrets in this regard. That’s how my journey progressed. I recognized the opportunities and took them.

What is that one dream you are yet to accomplish?

I do not believe in making lists of dreams. As they keep changing. I rather prefer to call my dreams, ‘the goals of my life’ as dreams can be forgotten, however, the goals you set for yourself motivate you to keep trying and help you move ahead in life. There are many goals that I am yet to achieve and I am constantly working on them. Rubaru Mr. India title is one of those goals.

The youth in India often give up without a fight. What do you have to say to them?

Even the longest journeys in life begin with a single step. You will never know your potential unless you try. Success is not a destination; it is a journey with many beautiful milestones.

What's your mantra of staying positive?

We only get one life to live. It is better to focus on positive things that you have and work towards achieving more such things rather than spending time thinking about the things that you do not have. Whatever you have today is because of your hard work and you surely have to work hard to achieve the things that you do not have. Instead of wasting time thinking about your unachieved goals start working towards achieving them.

What has been the hardest thing to overcome?

I have come across several things that seemed challenging and difficult initially. However, when you start working toward achieving them the difficulties in the path seem so small in front your efforts. There have been countless experiences in my life that made me sad and depressed however, my will-power, determination and self-assurance have always been stronger than the challenges that I faced.

Overcoming physical challenges might be one part of the battle. However, what about the mental health battle?

My mental strength is the reason for my presence at the place where I am today. In past, I have done some unique things and it is all because of my mental health. In order to achieve something, you need to think about it first and after that you set up a plan to work on it. I have followed the same strategy.

No matter how good you are, you are likely to face criticism in life at some point. It depends on you, how you deal with it. For me, criticism is like a new book, you learn a new thing every time you turn a page. That same thing goes with life, every day you get 24 hours, use them wisely and productively.

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