Abhishek noticed his first vitiligo patch in 2013. Thankfully, when he got this small patch on his neck, he was married. So, unlike other vitiligo fighters, finding love was not a challenge for him. However, having the first encounter with vitiligo is always tricky, no matter what one’s age is.
Abhishek has spent six good years living and traveling across the United Kingdom. He used to reason that vitiligo could have dented his experience in the UK if he had gotten it earlier. He was as confused as people around him. “People thought I had burnt myself as the spots turned red or pinkish when I was exposed to the sun. Many still ask me if I have hurt myself riding a motorcycle because my vitiligo patches are on my elbows and knees,” Abhishek recalls.
He open us further, “It took about two years of understanding that it is alright to have vitiligo and medically speaking, it could have been worse if it was something else. My friends did not care, and my family did not either. No one else mattered” But, Abhishek still experienced weird questions at social events. “If you think about it, people use your weakness to break the ice in a social gathering? How foolish of them.”
So, how did you handle annoying questions? Abhishek answers, “I am a vivid learner and an active student of metaphysics. I did not think about the people and what they might say or ask. Gradually, such conversations stopped. Was it difficult to control other people? Yes, it was. But all I could do was being confident about who I am.” These observations and thought processes have definitely helped Abhishek handle awkward situations in a stress free way.
Apart from being a wise, mature man, Abhishek is an avid reader. He draws his inspiration from books. “I think most books that I read have always encouraged me to self-improve. But concerning vitiligo, I think there were some of the books that helped me think beyond my condition and made me realize that there is more to life than vitiligo.” Abhishek suggests all vitiligo fighters read the Bhagavad Gita, The Time Keeper, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, The Alchemist, Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning and The Prophet.
Abhishek says he tried pills, exposure to the sun with Ayurveda oils, homeopathy, naturopathy, but the best medicine of all was empathy! “As an adult, it was easier for me to adapt to it and accept it. But, I can imagine a child being ridiculed for a few spots in school. Children in school are not mature enough to understand what a fellow kid with vitiligo can go through,” he shares his thoughts.
Abhishek doesn’t use anything anymore. He eats healthy and exercises every day, something all vitiligo fighters should be encouraged to do. But, has he completely embraced vitiligo? He answers, “I wish I did not have it. But, I have learned to live with it and have accepted it. I wear sleeveless T-shirts and shorts when I work out. I travel all over the world and still do not hide my patches.”
Abhsihek hopes if scientists can find a guaranteed cure in future. “It will be a blessing to a lot of people. But, till then there is no point wasting time sulking over vitiligo and experimenting medications,” he shares his mantra to youngsters with vitiligo. He asks all young vitiligo fighters to remember what Kahlil Gibran has written about beauty in The Prophet – “Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are the eternity, and you are the mirror.”
Abhishek is an independent financial analyst. He trades equities and handles portfolios of clients to help them create wealth and make good investment decisions. He runs his own financial consulting firm now. Apart from being a busy working professional, Abhishek continues to travel and explore new cultures.