Think back to a time when your life slowly changed colors like the sunrise. With each minute, the calm night sky becomes blue, pink, orange, and purple. With each breath you take, the sky becomes more vibrant and pleasing. The calmness you experience in the still of the morning grows into a joyful constant sustaining you. Ensuring you are not discouraged. Keeping you focused on what really matters. Illuminating this often negative world.
This is the epitome of what having friends with special needs is like. They blessed, and continue to bless, me more than any human being on earth, so let’s celebrate them this week! I am honoring the Seniors I met through Best Buddies every day this week as one chapter of our life ends and another begins (with each of their permission, of course).
Today’s Senior Spotlight is Roshan Gandhi!!
Side note: Don’t see him for his disability as I brag about his strength, joy, endurance, and inspiration! See him for his character. See him for his unending potential to help so many people. See him for his accomplishment of graduating high school despite immeasurable challenges. See him for making light of EVERY situation. See him for his gift of seeing past his difficulties to comfort others.
Okay, I have introduced him for long enough. Ladies and gents, please welcome Roshan Gandhi!
On a Sunday afternoon (in October of 2018), was our Best Buddies Match Party! This is where I met my best friend, Roshan! I happened to meet him through his bestie Jared, another beautiful person who I will be highlighting this week, also! We all discussed hobbies, interests, courses we are taking at Plano West, and which lunch period we had! He and Jared both had the same lunch as me, and God took over from that moment on. He led me to sit with them at lunch the next day.
The second I got to the lunch table, I knew that Roshan and his friends were the most down to earth, kind, and accepting people I had ever met. Roshan was kind when some teenagers would be judgmental of someone unfamiliar sitting at your lunch table. Yes, he was shy and that was an adjustment because I am the complete opposite, but this is what makes being friends with Roshan beautiful. We are from different cultures, backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs but we see past those differences and find joy in the learning! Roshan, you call me out when I am wrong which is something I need! Sugarcoating is not always the best thing for others and you taught me that. Bruh/Rosh, thank you for all of the laughs, tears, support, joy, and most of all for being YOU!
To give everyone a better idea of the “King” that Roshan truly is, let me tell you the story that he shared with me since I became friends with him in 2018. I only know two years of his life, yet it is a lifetime of lessons and experiences. (This story is being shared with his permission).
Roshan was and still is “Speedy Gonzalez”. Everyone used to call him that, and we still do, because he ran so fast. Now, all of us have to run to keep up with him in his scooter! Half of the time I am out of breath! He played soccer and enjoyed it so much, but suddenly the unimaginable occurred. When he was just eight years old, he developed an incurable disorder. This condition affects his ability to walk, and now he is in a wheelchair.
As discouraging as all of that sounds, Roshan embodies what it truly means to count your blessings. He always responds with “It’s okay!” or “There is nothing I can do about it, so why worry!”. Now if that doesn’t amaze you, I don’t know what will. Despite coping with his condition every second of the day, he writes notes for the people he cares about, sympathizes with other people, takes a lighthearted approach to his condition, and inspires more people than he will EVER know.
Roshan continues to play basketball (with the inspiration of Lebron James) and soccer through Miracle League, plays Rocket League (although I called it Rocket Ball and he will never let me forget it), works out daily, maintains excellent grades, and makes so many peoples’ days. He is the epitome of what Stevie Wonder once said: “Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks wisdom… we all have ability. The difference is how we use it”.
Roshan, thank you for being who you are and never letting anyone change that! You are changing more peoples’ lives than you know!! Although the chapter of our Senior year closes, this is the beginning of the rest of the Class of 2020's lives. The Class of 2020's year ended unlike anything humanity would have expected, but I predict that the beauty of your story will provide an astonishing next chapter starting on May 23rd as you begin adulthood. I firmly believe that God is going to continue to use you to inspire and help people, and I cannot wait to see the wondrous things that you do!