Meet Zahid Manzoor, A Special Kid With Special Talent

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Zahid Manzoor with his trophy

Born as a specially-abled kid in a poor family, a Kashmiri boy coming from the boroughs of Budgam has emerged as a real life fighter besides an inspiration for those who whine about their weaknesses in life.

By Tanveer Magrey

WHEN a child was born to a needle-worker’s family in 2008, no sweets were distributed among the relatives or in the neighbourhood. Instead, it descended a pall of gloom on the family. The child named Zahid—“the one who lead life of simplicity in lifestyle as well as workmanship”—was born with one limb short.

As doctors didn’t have any “silver lining” for the young country couple, Manzoor along with his wife lapping their new born started marching towards their home amidst melancholy and hopelessness.

But 11 years down the line, Zahid doesn’t evoke sadness and helplessness among his family. A second child to his parents among their three children, the specially-abled boy has beaten an untrodden path and brought laurels in Martial Arts and Cycling for Jammu and Kashmir.

In the 17th Anjali National Festival in 2018, Zahid grabbed the first position in Cycling and Dancing. In the same year he won an appreciation award in Martial Arts in Jammu where then Governor handed him Rs 10,000 for his excellent show. In 2019, he was gifted bicycle by the state.

The boy prodigy comes from dusky Budgam village Meeripora, ringed around by the karewas, nested six kilometres from main square Magam on Srinagar- Gulmarg highway. Few furlongs from the main marketplace lies the dwelling place of Zahid.

The two-storey house lays bare the rigours of impoverished life. The ground floor, having a single room, houses the livestock while the single room on the first floor doubles up as kitchen and resting place for Manzoor’s family. Cattle and heaps of fodder had taken over the yard from the front side of the house.

Despite the blatant poverty, the family’s specially-abled son is trying to go an extra mile to carve a niche for himself in his chosen field and mitigate the sufferings whacked by poverty on them.

Zahid fiddles with the mobile phone while his father threads different designs on shawl

As a needle-worker, Zahid’s father hardly makes a two ends meet. His story is the replica of those ubiquitous pleas: Middlemen take lion’s share while they receive the blade of grass.

“I don’t earn that much to fulfill all the needs of my family but I wish Zahid study to get some better job,” says Manzoor while pinning hopes on his son. “His education would get rid us of the poverty we are living in.”

Zahid’s grandfather, Ghulam Ahmad Parrey, showers heaps of praises on Zahid’s coach Mohammad Yousuf.

“We had no idea that there is anything he can do but Yousuf sahib opened the gates of hopes for us,” the grandfather beaming with pride says.

“Winning such awards gives us recognition. Now I don’t regret that he is lacking something because Allah has bestowed him something special.”

While scouting for some talent among the specially-abled students as the resource coordinator of Budgam, coach Yousuf had instantly sensed special talent in the boy the moment he had bumped into him.

Zahid walks with his coach and mentor

“When I came across him I knew he has some ingrained special talent,” says Yousuf.

“Once I started spending time with him I explored different shades in him. He learns Martial Arts for which he has earned much appreciation. He cycles and even drives a vehicle. He is also a dancer.”

As our vehicle was revving up to motor its ways outside Meeripora, Zahid returned from the roundabout of the hamlet while doing a cycling stunt much to the delight of a bevy of old men.

The very act not only defied the sense of “oddity” which had freaked out his parents during his birth, but also asserted his will to rise above the weakness in life. And that’s how this Budgam boy is paddling his own glory.

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