Published: 28th September 2017
This IT guy is a paralympic champion who loves swimming, shooting and other things that spell adventure
What's in a name? He was paralysed neck down, but that hasn't stopped him from sports, travel or a happy attitude in life
When a car accident in 2009 left him paralysed below the neck, a determined Justin Vijay Jesudas took to swimming and rifle shooting and became a Paralympic champion, apart from balancing a career as a software professional, in the city. While going on long drives and exploring new cuisines are some of the other things he is passionate about, currently, he has been bitten by the shutterbug!
Swarga Foundation has launched its Special calendar for 2018, featuring accomplished disabled athletes from across India. Justin, who has modelled for the calendar opens up about his experience in front of the lens, his zest for travel, food, adventure sports and more.
"I think we had shot about 100 photographs in a span of three hours. I enjoyed the whole experience and didn't get tired at all," says Justin. In the photo, he holds a rifle with his trademark goofy grin for the April 2018 leaf of the calendar.
I am a movie buff and love going to theatres. But unfortunately, a majority of theatres in the city aren't accessible and every time I go for a movie, I have to be lifted up. I don't feel embarrassed about it. But, sitting in the aisle or in the side, inside a theatre is not the best way to watch a movie!
Extremely photogenic and accustomed to modelling for photoshoots, we ask him if he plans to become a full-time model and, he laughs, "Hell no! I have been told many times that I am photogenic but I just did this for the fun of it," he smiles.
Recalling his first modeling assignment for NIFD's inclusive clothing and rolling the ramp in 2015, he narrates, "I was extremely nervous because it was my first time, but after a few rolls it was alright and fun! The feedback I received was that I didn't smile the whole time! Well, I thought models don't smile on the ramp," he laughs.
Taking his customized car for a spin every now and then, down his favourite OMR-ECR stretch and sometimes taking the bypass to Tambaram is one of his routine activities.
I don't mind driving even when there is traffic! I want to plan a long road trip soon and cover the length and breadth of India. I don't want to stop with that.I also want to drive from here to Europe and/or Thailand. But, work keeps me busy. If my company gives me a one month vacation, why not!
Justin Vijay Jesudas, Software Professional
A self-confessed foodie, Justin loves exploring new cuisines and says that the only time he hold back is before a swimming competition. "I have to make sure I don't gain extra kilos. But, I make sure I feast as soon as the competition is over!" he grins. He wants to explore the street food scene in China and Thailand some day and tells us about the 'quirkiest dish' he has ever eaten - Frog porridge! "It's very famous in Singapore and that's the favourite breakfast there. And it tasted good," he avers.
A man who works hard and parties harder, Justin is also proficient in scuba diving and surfing. "Whenever my friends and I get time, we hit Kovalam or Neelangarai and surf. I initially toppled, the surf board hit my face and I had quite a few mishaps before I got it right. Today, I enjoy doing it!" he smiles.
Justin wants to focus on the upcoming Asian games and also make time for some of his travel wish lists. "I want to explore Greece and Egypt for the civilisation and New Zealand and Australia for their nature," says the certified Scuba diver. "Diving in and exploring the barrier reefs in Australia is on the list!" he adds.
(This story was first published in the New Indian Express)