Shailesh Nerlikar, a go-getter person by nature. His physical disability could not stop him from achieving his dream. A resident of Uchgaon, a taluka place in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra.
Shailesh Nerlikar was a normal kid until the age of 5 yrs. Once he fell ill and his health deteriorated from that moment. He used to recover for a month or so after some medication, but get unwell again. Once a doctor diagnosed that Shailesh was suffering from calcium deficiency. Then he was literally bombarded with tablets, syrup, and injections of calcium. Due to an overdose of calcium, his bones and joints started becoming stiffer. The calcium cysts would erupt on his chest, back, stomach, hands, and legs. These cysts would burst and white liquid full of calcium would come out of it. Due to the stiffness, he could not bend the knees and the waist. He could not stand like normal people. His hands are stiff and as if stuck to the chest.
He has just to lie down or he needs somebody’s help for moving from one place to another.
Obviously, he could not take formal education after his illness. But he learned Hindi and English on his own. He learned to operate a computer and surf the Internet also. Meanwhile, he received good treatment from Dr. Haldankar and Dr. P N Kadam of Kolhapur.
His physical condition caused mental depression & Thoughts of suicide would always come to his mind. Doctors had a tough time to recover him from depression. Meanwhile, Dr. Kadam came to know about his love for Chess. He encouraged him to pursue the game. His depression vanished and he became a very positive person.
In 2005, he played for the first time for FIDE ratings. In 2006, he got an International FIDE rating of ELO 1743 points. He participated in many National and International tournaments and won prizes at all levels. He also received a Scholarship from late Vikram Singh Ghadge of Kolhapur.
Once he received an invitation from the organizers of ‘2nd World Chess Championship For Disabled’. The tournament was to be held in Dresden, Germany. The invitation was a great opportunity to play at the international level. But the journey was not easy. We had to raise a huge amount of sponsorship, do the preparation for the tournament, arrange for passport, visa, and other preparation.
His coach Mr. Kapil Lohana approached many organizations for sponsorship and finally got the same from ‘Babasaheb Ambedkar Research & Training Institute, Pune (BARTI). Arranging for the tickets was a big task. He cannot sit on a normal chair so a row of seats of an airplane would have to be removed to accommodate him. Therefore the foreign airline considered it as a stretcher case and asked for the charges of six tickets, which was impossible for us to pay as the ticket cost would be equal to the total budget of our entire Tour. Then Mr. Kapil approached Air India Airlines and explained to them the whole scenario and a dream of physically handicap person to represent our Nation at International Level convinced the authorities and finally with the help of Mr. Hemant Sutey & Mr. Gawande, they managed to get a ticket in Business class.
Shailesh Nerlikar, his mother, and Mr. Kapil accompanied Shailesh to Dresden. They landed at Frankfurt airport and went to Dresden by train from there. They faced many difficulties because of Shailesh’s physical condition and limitations. The language was another barrier, but to accomplish the dream of Shailesh to play at International event Mr. Kapil and his team braved the situation and returned with success in an increment of Shailesh’s International Rating.
Shailesh, his mother Mrs. Sarala Nerlikar and Coach Mr. Kapil Lohana believes that
“No one has a right to kill a dream”
It was an enriching experience and a message giving the event of Life !!