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When paraplegic Kalliyath Pahalisha from Kerala, who became wheelchair-bound after a road accident in 2009, fulfilled his dream of skydiving in Dubai. COURTESY Kalliyath Pahalisha Image Credit:

Dubai: A former Indian powerlifter-boxer from Kerala, who became a wheelchair-bound paraplegic after a road accident 10 years ago, fulfilled his dream of skydiving in Dubai on Monday.

“Ten years back, doctors told me I won’t be able to walk. Today, God made me fly,” 29-year-old father-of-two Kalliyath Pahalisha, told Gulf News after the jump.

Initially scheduled for Sunday, Pahalisha’s tandem skydive was postponed to Monday due to adverse weather conditions, but when it finally happened he was over the moon and thanked his instructor David with whom he jumped.

“It was not like how normal people would skydive,” said Pahalisha. “My knees had to be tied together. My landing was in seating position. He [David] tried his best to drop me exactly onto my wheelchair. But due to strong winds, we just missed it. I will come back again and next time we will land perfectly on to my wheelchair,” he added.

“I just can’t explain how beautiful the view was and how thrilled I felt,” he said of the jump. “I was not worried at all. I had prepared myself well. Two years back I couldn’t have done this. I was still weak.”

With regular physiotherapy, swimming and gym sessions, he said, he can now use a walker for basic purposes.

“Of course, willpower and mental support mattered the most,” he added, attributing lessons learnt from his former sports - powerlifting and boxing - with giving him the courage to face any situation.

Man of steel

Quite literally, Pahalisha is a man of steel, as he and his brother Humayoon run a group that manufactures Kairali TMT steel bars in India.

Pahalisha heads sales and marketing of the flagship division of Kairali Ventures, a leading brand of re-bars in Kerala.

The accident that caused damage to 75 per cent of his spinal cord took place at a time when Pahalisha was at his fittest.

A graduate student of Farook College at the time, he was also a national-level powerlifter and a state-level boxer in Kerala.

In fact, he was driving back home after attending a state-level boxing competition when the accident took place.

Pahalisha said he had dozed off due to the fatigue after the competition and the long drive and the car overturned.

His coach, who was also with him, sustained minor injuries while Pahalisha was bedridden for a year-and-a-half.

Though doctors said they did not expect any major improvement in such cases, a determined Pahalisha proved them wrong with the support of his family and friends.

Bonds that gave strength

His wife Nasiha was his college mate. She accepted his long-pending proposal during college days only after the accident and took care of him.

He said she was also extremely happy to learn of his latest accomplishment.

“I owe a lot to her and my family members, especially my parents and my brother Humayoon, and my friends for supporting me throughout my journey after the accident that changed my life. Everyone knew this was my big dream and all of them are so happy for me.”

His friends played a major role in his life when he became wheelchair-bound after a long hospitalisation following the accident.

“I’m always indebted to my friends,” he said. “They took me back to the college, and in the process took me back to the outside world. That act has a very important place in my heart. It made me feel no less than a person who can walk.”

He named some of his college friends who witnessed his momentous leap of faith from the sky.

“I was so happy that my classmates Rashad Salam, who also works in my company, and Isa, Ijaz, Hazim and Nabeel who are working here in Dubai, were around to witness my dream coming true.”

Pledging to come back again to seek more adventures, Pahalisha said scuba diving is the next thing on his bucket list.