A dancer who had her leg amputated just four years ago after a motorbike accident has become a star in India with her remarkable dance moves on one leg.
Subhreet Kaur Ghumman, 27, came runner up on India’s version of Britain’s Got Talent this year but not before she won over the nation with her impressive talents.
Her show stopping moves and elegance could rival any able-bodied dancer and now the former nurse is touring the world with her talents.
She said: ‘I always loved dancing but my parents wanted me to study so I worked hard to become a nurse. The accident changed my life; it not only took my leg but it gave me the determination to fulfill my dreams. Now I’m dancing for a living and I love it.’
Subhreet was a shy child. She used to only dance in her bedroom in front of the mirror; too nervous to perform in front of an audience.
The accident changed my life; it not only took my leg but it gave me the determination to fulfill my dreams
‘I was so shy I couldn’t talk to anyone, I used to talk only when needed. I was a good student and I used to keep my head in my books,’ Subhreet remembers. ‘Dancing was a love of mine but it was never something I thought I’d ever do professionally.’
But on October 21st, 2009, Subhreet’s world was turned upside down.
She caught a lift on the back of her friend’s moped after college and just a few miles from home the bike skidded at speed on a sharp corner and both Subhreet and her friend were flown off.
‘I fractured my knee badly but I wasn’t dying, my life wasn’t in danger thankfully,’ she said.
But at the local government hospital Subhreet was left lying in a bed for almost two weeks.
‘The negligence in a basic government hospital is terrible. My mum begged doctors to treat me, but they just put my leg in a brace and left me. They didn’t even attempt to treat my fracture.’
As Subhreet already had a congenital condition called Arterioenous malformation (AVM), an abnormal connection between arteries and veins, doctors were apprehensive about surgery to insert plates to fix her fracture.
Eventually Subhreet was taken into theatre to insert plates to fix her fracture on November 5th, 15 days after the accident.
But during surgery, a doctor cut a vein and Subhreet began to bleed uncontrollably. The surgical team managed to stop the bleeding but cut short the operation.
‘When I woke up and saw my mother’s face I knew the surgery hadn’t gone well,’ Subhreet added. ‘I was devastated. The surgeon’s incompetence meant I now had to wait for the veins in my leg to heal before they even attempt to fix my fracture for the second time.’
She was sent home to recover but as weeks passed Subhreet’s condition went from bad to worse.
‘I lost all feeling in my leg and slowly my toes, foot and my leg started to turn black. I was bed ridden for more than two months
Infection spread throughout her leg and in the end Subhreet found herself begging her mother to just cut off her leg.
She said: ‘I turned to my mother and asked her do you think my leg will ever be the same again? She knew the answer. I was sobbing, I was devastated, I knew that I had to cut it off, it was the only option left and the only chance I had of trying to get my life back.’
I was devastated, I knew that I had to cut it off
Mother Charanjeet Kaur, 56, travelled from one hospital to the next near their home in Jhundan village in Punjab, northern India, begging doctors for their help. Over a time period of 12 months, as Subhreet permanently lay in bed, her mother was looking for a doctor to help her.
Finally, Dr Harinder Bedi, from the Christian Medical College, in Ludhiana, agreed to do the operation on September 16, 2010, almost a year after the bike accident.
Subhreet said: ‘It was a huge decision for me but I knew there was no other way. If I wanted to survive I had to cut off my leg. I came to the conclusion it was better to amputate my leg than stay as it was.’
‘When I woke up after the operation tears filled my eyes out of pure happiness. That feeling of not having a lifeless leg was amazing.’
And this year, feeling positive about the future, Subhreet started reading about other disabled achievers. They gave her hope and inspiration to achieve her own dreams. And she decided to apply for India’s Got Talent.
She said: ‘My friends started ignoring me, people showed sympathy but it was pity. I didn’t want pity. I decided not to fall into darkness but show the world that I was a strong person and to continue my passion for dance. My mother was shocked but happily agreed to support me.’
Subhreet tried to enroll at dance studios around her home but she was rejected because of her disability. Until eventually Rockstar Academy, in Chandigarh, in northern India, accepted her.
Charanjeet said, ‘My daughter was always a fantastic dancer but I had forced her into studies when she was younger. After the operation, when she told me that she wanted to dance on TV, I was apprehensive but I supported her.’
And in February, this year Subhreet auditioned for India’s Got Talent and amazed the judges and crowds.
She said: ‘It was the most beautiful moment when I first performed. When I finished my performance the audiences and the judges applauded and they gave me a standing ovation. I was overwhelmed, it was amazing.’
She was chosen for the final, but was piped to the show’s first prize by Ragini Makkhar and Naadyog dance group and missed out on a £68,000 cash prize but she is not unhappy, the show has changed her life.
I’m not disappointed that I didn’t win the competition. I won in so many other ways. I’m more confident about my future now. Since participating the talent show, my life has changed completely,’ she said.
Subhreet, who’s had many marriage proposals since her TV appearance, is now a celebrity in her hometown. She is continuously asked for her autograph and her dance studio is full of well wishers and supporters.
She said: ‘I have seen the darkest days but now everything seems beautiful. People recognise me when I go out, they ask me for photographs and autographs. It is an amazing feeling and I am buoyed with happiness.’
She is now an inspiration for thousands of youngsters.
She added: ‘I want to live life to the full. We should be strong and we shouldn’t get depressed when we experience tragedies. We should all dream a better future.’