India’s first model with autism
19 year old Pranav Bakshi is India’s first model with autism. He calls autism his superpower. He first realised he wanted to be a model when he attended an autism festival in Mumbai. He felt very confident on seeing people clap for him. After that when he saw models on a screen in the mall and saw models on billboards, he told his mother and sister that he wanted to be like them.
Both of them encouraged him to achieve whatever he wanted to. His mother wrote to a few modelling agencies. She also told Pranav to focus on his fitness. He got himself a personal trainer and became very particular about his diet.
Pranav learnt to overcome his anxieties
He eventually got the chance to walk the ramp for big brands. Sometimes, when he goes to rehearsals for ramp walks, or on video shoots, he feels anxious. However, he has found ways to overcome this. He stays back after everybody has left the rehearsal hall and memorises the entry and exit points. At other times, he calls the nerves by talking to his mother or writing in his anxiety journal.
Earlier, he got praised by his family for making good use of his superpower. Now, he gets several messages on social media that tell him how inspiring he is.
As a kid, Pranav was a big fan of Mr Bean. He identified with the problems like not being understood and not knowing how to express himself. He felt different from everybody around him and felt everybody was looking at him. He would often act out like the screen character too. However, once he learnt how to express himself, he stopped such behaviour. He also worked on distancing himself from the negative and sarcastic people.
His earliest memory is of the day he was born, but in his memory his mother was upside down. He also has a strong recollection of events from the past, smells, people, days, dates, places and songs. Many of his memories appear in his mind like a video or photo, it’s like having a flashback in his mind.
He is a huge music fan, and has attended several music concerts. He is also fond of golf and photography. He studies graphic designing. He has a dream house full of luxurious amenities. Pranav says he is willing to work hard to afford the swanky how dream house.
Like everyone, he has faced several difficulties in life and learnt things the hard way. The challenges often lead to feelings of disappointment and frustration. He finds a solution to the problems somehow. Like when attending music festivals, finding a place that allows him to focus on the music and ignoring the crowds. Asking people to explain him things he doesn’t understand in easy language.
Pranav calls autism his superpower
Pranav says he doesn’t suffer from autism. He considers it his superpower, just like all his favourite Marvel characters have different superpowers.