Disabilities fail to hold Manali back as she promotes book penned by mother

Among nearly 300 different book stalls at the ongoing 87 All India Marathi Literary Meet, stall number G-24 has been catching the fancy of visitors for its unique campaign aimed at promoting adequate consumption of folic acid in expecting mothers, besides carrying out sale of a special book.

Twenty-two-year old Manali Kulkarni, who suffers from Spina Bifida (congenital disorder), is making every attempt to promote the book, which narrates an inspiring tale of her mother bringing her up as a normal child, despite she being born with several biological complications due to the inadequate intake of water soluble vitamins during pregnancy.

The book in Marathi, titled 'Tichi Kahani Vegali' (her different story) and penned by Smita Kulkarni, a teacher from Thane, narrates the journey of Manali from an all dependent girl to the winner of the President's award as the 'most creative girl' for her science project on water purification method in 2006.

Released in March 2008, the book is into its 13th edition now with more than 12,000 copies being sold so far.

"Folic acid ki jay ho is our slogan. We do not want any parent to face the ordeal we went through. The birth of our child, who was physically and mentally challenged, was initially very difficult for us to accept. However, we decided to convert this challenge into an opportunity. We helped our girl overcome all possible odds in leading a normal life. With her own efforts and our support, she has now emerged as a role model for many," said Sandeep Kulkarni, Manali's father.

"Manali underwent around 10 operations within a few months of her birth. My wife had a tough time in bringing up Manali, as she had to manage her career as a teacher. A few years ago, we decided to pen down the journey of Manali and her mother. We thought the book will be an inspiration to many parents," he added.

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