Most of us who have all our five senses intact, find navigating through life difficult enough… But have you ever given a thought to those who are born challenged and imagined how life would be for them – say without being able to hear or see.

But what amazes me is that when I come across such gifted people… And I call them gifted as they brim with confidence and positivity that draws you to them. Believe me, there is much to learn from them. They often exhibit tremendous potential to be achieved in intellectual, creative and artistic fields.

I met up with this handsome young man the other evening. All of 25, he stands apart. Very chivalrous and keeping to our 6:00 pm appointment, Rahul Mahajan looked sharp, confident and oozed gentility when he picked me up and drove me to his new project. You see, Rahul has a hearing disability since birth and though life has been very challenging at every step he has kept his positivity going and a will to fight back and conquer all that is thrown his end. With supportive parents and a younger sister, doting grandparents and good friends, Rahul has been consistent in working towards what he wants. Equipped with a pair of hearing aids, he is completely independent and drives himself everywhere and manages all his work by himself.

Asha, his Mother, accompanied us as she helped in our conversations and detailed explanations. Rahul did his junior schooling at Blue Bird School, Chandigarh. After completing his 5th standard there and when he moved out for higher schooling that things became tough and complicating. No school around was equipped to handle children with disabilities. Most turned them away while the rest had no answers on how they would help Rahul with his challenges. His father Rajeev, ran from pillar to post to get noted schools to give Rahul admission.

Out of the blue, the Yadavindra Public School, Mohali reached out to them and offered to take in Rahul. Asha told me that Rahul was given a trip of the school premises and he returned beaming and excited to join the school. This experience turned out to be a blessing as the Principal, staff and teachers at the school were helpful, caring and supportive and ensured that Rahul bloomed into a fine student as he was provided the right atmosphere for this. He did his family and school proud by scoring 78.3% in his ICSE Board exams. Rahul then went on to complete his 12th from YPS as well, again scoring an excellent percentage in the ISC Board exams.

Rahul is also a very good sportsman and holds a Black belt in Choi Kwang Do Martial Arts. A born artist, he spend his free time drawing and painting. Extremely helpful and affectionate by nature, his natural confidence allows him to achieve everything that he sets his heart on. So it was indeed a proud moment for the family when Rahul topped the entrance exam for the B.A. Fine Arts course – Applied Art stream in the General category. He completed his Degree of Bachelor of Arts from the Government College of Arts, Chandigarh in the year 2013. He then entered the field of Real Estate in the year 2014. He has already completed and sold a 10 Marla (252 sq. metres) house and has now finished another house of 14 Marlas (354 sq. metres) and working on another 3 – 4 projects simultaneously.

Of course, being an architect is in Rahuls’ genes and DNA. His father, Rajeev Mahajan is a practicing Architect and is very well- known and respected in and around Chandigarh. His mother, Asha is also a well-established architect with the Punjab Government. And his younger sister, Aastha is a final year student of Architecture in the renowned Chandigarh College of Architecture. The family is now looking forward to the day when Rahul finds his ‘better half’.

I loved Rahul’s project from the start. He has done a brilliant job in creating attractive, modern spaces that would appeal to any resident — but which also include “nice-to-have” features. He follows the Universal design — the architectural concept of making accessibility features ubiquitous and attractive which has long been a trend in real estate.

Last year, Rahul had accompanied his father abroad on a work trip and that turned out to be a good experience for him and the exposure he needed. This new pad had imported wall paper that to a layperson like me appeared more as an intricate work of art on plaster. Rahul is building his own work-team now as more projects are coming his way. His one-to-one relationship ensures that his workers are in tandem to his ideas and thoughts and loyal to the core.

Rahul loves playing with concepts in his head…does all the designing and outlining of the false-ceiling patterns that are extremely striking and appealing. Asha mentioned that Rahul was extremely selective in choosing the right lights, fixtures, tiles etc. and conceptualised all the in-depth patterns. The final result is truly like a beautiful art creation unfolding before your very eyes.

The whole house was centrally air-conditioned with large airy rooms… Each bedroom and toilet designed differently… Large walk-in wardrobes with endless cupboards and storage space including dressing areas – a woman’s dream no doubt! The interplay of wooden floors, marble stone and tiles was eye-catching. My personal favourites were the glass bridge walk-way – that would give a few nightmares undoubtedly, an open kitchen which exuded warmth and space, the exotic light panels in the drawing room, the intricate ‘Jali’ work in the background, different wallpapers and wooden floors.

With its open floor plans, a kitchen that flowed into the living room and balconies and terraces to breathe in fresh air, the open spaces were welcome indeed. Small green spaces in the front and rear of the house had been already cultivated with plants and grass and trees. The rear even had a counter for outdoor parties. A spiral staircase cleverly hidden behind a modern design went up to the roof and servant quarters.

On asking Rahul if he followed ‘Vastu Shastra’ he confirmed that he used the basic ‘Vastu’ principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement and spatial geometry. Since this belt is also known to be cursed with the termite menace, he had to make sure that sound termite treatment was done during the construction phase. The beautiful lighting inside and outside the house was fascinating.

Rahul’s houses or rather works of art reflect: space, light and colour, and acoustics. The building is itself aesthetically interesting, but getting past the playful facade of wood, glass, and slate shows the true innovations of the design. The newly constructed house had wider-than-average, well-lit corridors that allowed you to walk without bumping into things. Bright colours inside the house helped to make it cheery, while matte paint, rather than glossy, helped reduce glare. Doors and windows strategically placed helped in the air circulation and natural flow of breeze for cross ventilation.

We drove past his first project and the house stood out amongst the others in the street and looked absolutely eye-catching. Rahul undoubtedly stands apart and believes in being different and creating styles that are unique.