Priyadarshini Chatterjee

Femina Miss India World 2016

I’m an asthmatic & I don’t know why people around me are still not aware enough to know that it’s not a big deal & people not only survive but also live through it normally. When I first got my attack at the age of 10, I didn’t realise it at first until I was taken to the hospital in the middle of the night as I was totally out of breath. It’s been 12 years now & I’m happy to state that asthma has not stopped me from following my dreams. I’ve always been active in sports & dancing despite. Yes, I did go out of breath a lot of times especially during treks & travelling to different climatic zones, but one thing that helped through all of this was my inhaler & I still never step out without it.

Some incidents made me feel very vulnerable & I had to rethink whether I could actually take part in certain things. When I participated in the Miss India pageant, there were a lot of competing activities such as sports, talent & lots more & I wasn’t keeping well. I literally went out of breath after walking 20 steps. Yes, it was a hurdle & I’ll not deny that, but giving up was surely not a choice. I carried my inhaler everywhere & used it right after my performance. I also remember how I felt shy to use the inhaler in public & when I did, people would look at me with pity & curiosity. I feel people in our country are not even aware that it’s called an inhaler & how it functions. Some of my friends call it oxygen or ‘that thing’. I remember once I was going to the airport from one shoot to another & as rushed as my life is, I had a major attack & my inhaler dozes were over. That was one moment in my life when I realised how important my inhaler is & that it has made my life a lot easier. It saved me and has been doing so since the last 12 years.

As a change, I would like everyone to be more informed about asthma & please do share your stories to create awareness for people to #OpenUpToAsthma