In the rural Indian town of Chapla Khop in West Bengal, sits an Envato author like any other.
He produces business cards, flyers, brochures and Facebook cover photos with the goal of being creative and making sales wherever he can.
He certainly sounds like your everyday Envato Market author. But there’s one big point of difference.
He’s 95% physically challenged.
Up until the age of five, Arnab Kumar Halder (ArnabKumar) could run, jump and walk like a normal kid. But, at the age of five he was stricken with Juvenile Idiopathic Athritis (JIA). JIA is chronic arthritis that causes inflammation in one or more joints for 6 weeks or longer in children aged 16 years or under.
After seeking treatment he began to get better.
But, some days later he became infected by a deadly disease. Although he sought serious medical treatment, it left him without the ability to walk.
Arnab did however manage to get some special treatment, which healed his sickness, and gave him back the ability to walk.
But sadly, he was again infected with the same deadly disease, and his body became inactive, leaving him bed-ridden. Though he sought treatment once again, he failed to fully recover, this time leaving him completely unable to walk.
Until the age of five he had attended school normally, but after losing the use of his legs, he had to be taught from home.
His teachers accommodated to him as much as they could and he eventually passed high school, but it was a tough experience, and difficult to go any further within the education system.
Throughout his treatment he spent a lot of time in front of his computer. He started using Microsoft Paint, and later on Photoshop, gradually learning the principles of design.
As his design skills improved, so too did the speed of the internet in his area, eventually moving from dial-up to high-speed.
Each day at his computer he was learning something new. He began to blog and freelance online. He came to meet people who made a living selling their designs which brought him to the realisation that that was something he wanted to do.
“The work which you desire and like most from your heart, you should accept as your career”, Arnab tells me, quoting from the Bollywood film “3 Idiots”.
Learning to design
He continued to educate himself in design online, with Google practically becoming his tutor, and he soon came to discover Envato Tuts+, the tutorials he still uses today.
Arnab’s two hands are very weak, so his workspace has had to be arranged around how he moves. He uses his right hand to type on the onscreen keyboard, and he controls a secondary mini keyboard with his left hand’s three fingers.
Reflecting on the past can still make him very upset, having been able to walk on and off as a child. He still has great memories that have stayed with him, and draw attention to the ability he has lost due to his physical condition. But, in those dark moments he finds inspiration in figures like Stephen Hawking and Helen Keller, watching videos of them on YouTube.
They help pull him through, and remind him of the greatness that’s still possible, with or without the ability to walk or move freely.
Becoming a professional
Arnab spent about two years looking for a job as a freelance designer in vain, but in April this year, he had his first item approved on GraphicRiver. It brought a tear to his eye.
He’s now chosen to make freelancing on the Envato Market his full-time job and even hopes to one day work for Envato itself as a designer.
For someone in his condition, finding work is always going to be incredibly challenging. So, Arnab is incredibly thankful that Envato exists, offering him the chance to use his design skills to make a living, saying, “You give me light in my life. I can’t tell you more. I am speechless.”
What more is there to say?