Anagha Modak is a famous TV anchor, RJ and conducts various programs.
She was living an independent life, until one day she got detected with dengue and in that she lost her eyesight.
Anagha shares her inspiring life journey and her courageous thought process during that difficult time. She also shares how she overcame the challenge and became a successful RJ and TV anchor.
Please watch a short video on her life journey but don't miss her full interview with Inspirational Beings team to know her battle for regaining her confidence, and how she became the inspiration for many.
Please tell us about your childhood and personal background.
I was born on 17th May 1989 in Vile Parle. It is a suburb of Mumbai in Maharashtra, India. I was born in a simple happy middle-class family. Both of my parents worked in Banks. Back then, my family comprised of my parents, me, my younger brother, and my grandma. Our family is a very contented family with very high middle-class values and virtues. During a very young age, I used to accompany my elders to spiritual and devotional programs like bhajan and kirtan. This might have influenced me as to how to present yourself, how to keep people involved in your talks, how to present the topic, and so on. We used to recite Sanskrit shlokas, prayers at home too. This helped me to bring even more clarity in my speech, pronunciation, throw of speech, and voice modulation.
How did you succeed in being a Radio Jockey despite sudden loss of your eyesight at the age of 24?
To be a radio jockey was never planned nor it was an aim for me. I had completed my Masters in Mass Communication and was pursuing my Ph.D. I was also working as a Production Incharge in a commercial art production company simultaneously. Suddenly, on one fateful day, my dad succumbed to a massive heart attack. It was very untimely and shocking for all of us. We were trying to cope with this irreparable loss, and within a year, on 2nd October 2014, I was diagnosed with Dengue and admitted to the hospital.
While being treated, one day, I complained about the severe burning of my eyes. Moreover, without anybody could ever imagine, I lost my eyesight within a few hours. Even doctors couldn't diagnose it. All of a sudden, it was total darkness for me. We were very shocked and also dismayed to react. I was left to be dependent and immobile. I was completely housebound. A ray of hope entered my life after many dreaded nights when one of my friends approached me for anchoring. I had done anchoring and compering while I was in college. However, here, the situation was different. I was not ready & was hesitant, but with the support of my family and friends, I decided to consider this as an opportunity to motivate myself. I took up the program. It was a huge success which helped me regain my confidence and laid the foundation of me being an R.J.
What are some of the critical challenges you handled when you lost sight suddenly? What is your learning from those challenges?
I was a very bubbly, fun loving, independent, and full of life girl before. I loved roaming around the city, speedily on my bike. I participated in many cultural events and activities. I had a fantastic friend circle. I was enjoying every moment of my life. However, life had some different plans for me. This devastating incident made me wholly immobile and dependent. With the tremendous support of my family, friends, and my Guru, I was trying to take life in my strides after I lost my sight. Slowly, I started getting anchoring assignments, but the situation was different from before. Earlier I used to work hard on my scripts and prepare everything all by myself. Now I needed help for everything. I needed somebody to read out everything to me. Main task was to remember it and reproduce it just by memory as it was impossible to refer to any notes at all. The feeling of my dependency on others made me jittery and uncomfortable initially. Eventually, I learned to seek help from others. Me, 'accepting' this most significant challenge of losing eyesight made the situation tolerable finally. It showed me many ways to accept and adapt to a new life. There are always two options available at your disposal. Either you accept and face the challenge with courage or start cribbing to make your own life miserable. I chose the first one.
Could you help our viewers understand your feelings and experience of your journey from being able to see to be not able to see? Moreover, how did you manage to come out of such a devastating experience?
As I told you earlier, I was always full of life, enjoying every moment of it. I used to simply love colors. On my professional front, I had completed my Masters with merits, was preparing for my Ph.D. Simultaneously, I was a Production Incharge at a production unit. I was also selected for Akashwani as R.J. So, after this fateful dengue episode, losing my eyesight was the shock of my life which I couldn’t digest initially. I could see my world falling apart. Even the thought of missing colors made me miserable. It was like my book of dreams was shut abruptly, and I was lost in a whirlwind. When I came home after hospitalization, I was like a newborn baby who didn't know how to walk. I had to rediscover my own house. I was dependent and had to adjust myself with the pace of the supporting person. Many times, I used to bump on something or bang my head on the wall. Coping up with the loss of my eyesight and dependency on others, was a herculean task for me. It made me low and vulnerable at times. Multiple times, I needed assistance in reading and preparing my scripts when I was on anchoring assignment those days. One incident changed my melancholic state of mind entirely and gave me the inner strength to rise again like a phoenix. My spiritual guru visited me. With full compassion and empathy, he placed his hand warmly on my head, and in very assuring words, he said, "Don't get scared in tough situations. You have been seeing the outside world for so many years. Now start observing and concentrating on the world within yourself. While meditating, we close our eyes to concentrate upon our inner thought process. Take this as a meditative state of life and utilize it to understand yourself from within. Focus on developing and evolving yourself." I was completely pacified. Gradually, I became very peaceful from within. His words of wisdom gave me a positive reaction to walk towards the newfound ray of hope. I experienced calmness from within. I decided to accept the situation and face the challenge with a broad smile and open arms. Also, I wanted to put an end to the agony of my family and friends who were equally in pain for me. Once I accepted the situation, the challenge became tolerable, and it opened many ways to adapt to a new way of life. I followed the guidance of my family, friends, and relatives. With their support and grace of the Almighty, I realized that my plight was nothing compared to those who are born blind. My sorrows, worries seemed insignificant when I started understanding the magnitude of problems they were facing. Blessing in disguise came to me as I evolved being more mature, wise, and patient towards life. I always keep on reminding myself that I might have lost my eyesight, but my mind, my intellect, my senses are intact and functioning. So, I have a reason to smile.
Which is the best and worst experience(s) you had in becoming the best R.J. at the state level in vocational excellence in the cultural field?
I was honored with this award because I feel that the Juries must have judged me on these grounds that instead of mourning in this toughest situation, how I overcame all the hurdles and kept walking on my professional path to achieve success. During this entire journey, there are many moments which qualify to be the best experiences. Whenever I receive immense love and appreciation from my viewers and fans, these are the moments I would like to cherish throughout my life. Many write to me how I have become an inspiration to them. I have also received phone calls from people stating how they have given up suicidal thoughts and have decided to fight the battle of life bravely after watching me or listening to me. These are the golden treasures of my life. Mr. Rajiv Khandekar, Chief Editor of ABP Maaza (a Marathi news channel), approached me to anchor a reality show for them. I was equally shocked and surprised as the T.V. channel is a visual medium.
How can a person who is visually challenged anchor a program? However, Rajiv Sir had full confidence in me that I would do it successfully and soulfully. I was skeptical till my first shot of the shooting schedule. All my doubts and worries about how I would be able to deliver in front of a camera vanished in a thin air soon. My entire team supported me whole-heartedly. The show was a hit. It was appreciated by media and became popular across the state.
Regarding worst experiences, getting a comment on my physical deformity in public makes me feel humiliated and low. However, all these incidences are temporary. Because these comprise of hardly 10%. I prefer to choose the remaining 90% by ignoring such unpleasant disturbing instances. My parents have always taught me that the essence of life lies in having every taste in the right quantity, and such negative experiences serve as a bitter taste which completes your diet. They have also instilled in me that 10% of unwanted nasty experiences are great lessons in life.
How do you keep yourself motivated when you are low when you feel like giving up?
I never forget the life theory of 90 - that is blessings, love, efforts, support of my family, friends, well-wishers comprise 90% of my life. I want to see them happy. So, I don't bother about 10%. I recollect all those pleasant moments where people had shared with me as to how much I inspire them. My gratitude towards them pushes me to bounce back upon those low moments. I always keep in mind that this is temporary and will never last forever, but the love and support I get is permanent, which will stay forever with me.
Who is your favorite personality, and why?
I have many people in life whom I look up to as my inspiration. The greatest one is my mom. She never gives up and fights her own battles. She never cried in front of us, nor she loses hope. She is neither vulnerable despite getting two devastating shocks of her life, first is the untimely death of her husband, and the second one is that of her daughter losing her eyesight. My mom always tells us not to get bogged down in difficult times and not to get too excited in happier times.
The other inspiration is Sant Muktabai, sister of Sant Dnyaneshwar. Muktabai lived her life in the present and was too strong from within to be laid down by any outward blows.
What is the definition of empowerment to you?
To me, empowerment is extending our horizon and pushing our limits. Developing capabilities to understand others' minds and predicament and be able to support them is real empowerment to me.
What’s your mantra in life?
My mantra in life is “ Smile in every situation. Keep your feet grounded. Push your boundaries to welcome new beginnings. Always try hard to reach new horizons!” Accept the situation and embrace the problem whole-heartedly. Start enjoying the inevitable challenge as it would give you the wisdom to live life.
What's your plan ahead?
My plan, professionally, is to complete my Ph.D.; and for life, I wish to spread goodness to everyone around me through my words. I want to be the reason of happiness to others.
What’s your message to viewers?
There is no life without challenges. Everyone faces them in life. Their intensity and type may vary. One should not surrender to such life pressures and severe blows. A diamond is obtained, or a temple is carved when several blows hammer the stone. It's your choice whether to be a diamond, an incredible temple, or pure dust.
One has to go through ups and downs to wade through stormy waters. Please trust your abilities, people around you and last but not least, the Almighty. Don’t get turned down and humiliated by problems. To err is human. Mistakes are represented by sign "X" but remember it is also a sign on multiplication. It multiplies your learning.
Follow your heart. Learn to understand the predicaments of others. Love all and support everybody from the bottom of your heart!