MY STORY

Hi, I’m Pranav Bakhshi. I am India’s first model with autism. Autism is my superpower. I first realised I wanted to be a model when I attended the Art for Autism festival in Mumbai. I have always liked to pose for the camera. I saw models walking the ramp walk on a big screen in a mall. I told mom and my sister that I want to be like them. Mom and Nikita (my sister) said that I am my own boss and I do whatever I want. Mom and Nikita are so proud of me because I am so concentrated on what I want to do.

When I went for golf in my car, I saw models on billboards.  I admired them and I wanted to be like them. I clicked pictures of the models and sent them to my mom. I told my mom that I want to be like them. My Mom sent mails to the modelling agencies. She said that let us hope that an agency takes me. She you should work hard on your fitness because models are fit. I started working out regularly with my trainer. I understood the small steps of exercise and breathing in and out. I am very particular about what I eat.  I munch on junk and snacks only on weekends.

Mom and Nikita said that I am patient and hard working and I will do it and Mom and Nikita said that they are proud of my struggle. I was so glad when I got selected to walk the ramp for US POLO ASSN and Benetton. We can do anything we want when we work hard and deal with the challenges. When I go for rehearsals for my ramp walks and when I go for photo shoots and video shoots, sometimes I feel anxious but I know how to deal with that. I stay back after the rehearsals and know the entries and exits in the mind. I discuss things with my mom and I also write in my journal.  I take deep breaths and my anxiety gets sorted.   

On May 13, 2019, it was my nineteenth birthday. On that day, Hindustan Times published a feature on me. I am India’s first model with autism. I am India’s first model with autism with a modelling agency. After that, there have been interviews, articles, shoots. People DM me on  Instagram and people tell me that I am a role model. Sometimes, it is a bit confusing, but I like it. Earlier, it was only my family who praised me and told me I have an awesome superpower. It feels good when people also appreciate.

When I was a small kid, I was a big fan of Mr.Bean. Like him, I didn’t know how to express myself. Like him, I thought that no one understood what I said. I used to act like Mr Bean when I did not know how to express myself .I stopped doing that when I learnt how to express my feelings and emotions. But I knew I was different from everyone.  Sometimes I felt that everyone is looking at me because I am so different. I felt uncomfortable and lost. I ignore negative and sarcastic people.

Soon after I was born, I was very sick but I managed bravely. My family called me Sher Khan. I told my mom that she was lying down on the bed upside down in hospital gown and the doctor held my legs and shook me and spun me violently and I puked in the hospital metal dish. She says that I think she was upside down because the doctor was holding me upside down. This is my earliest memory. I remember so many things from the past. I remember them in my mind like photos and videos. I remember the smells, the days, the dates, the people and the places. I remember all songs I hear and the years of release. These are my flashbacks and I love them. I love flashbacks with my sister. I remember I had so much fun with my sister. I used to trouble her. But I stopped doing that.  I love discussing my flashbacks with my sister.

I am passionate about many things. I like to play golf . I listen to 94.3FM all day long. I only like to go to Mumbai and Bengaluru because I  can listen to Radio One. I don’t like to go to visit other cities because I will miss Radio One. I love attending music concerts. I attend concerts of my favourite musicians when they come to India and perform in the NCR. I have attended VH 1 Supersonic Marshmellow Concert, Sunburn Arena with DJ Snake Concert, Sunburn Arena with Wiz Khalifa Concert, Ananya Birla Live Concert , Sunburn Arena with Dimitry Vegas and Like Mike Concert and Sunburn Arena with Alan Walker Concert . I want to go to Tomorrowland Music Festival in Belgium as i am a big fan of EDM music. I like to do photography. I won an award in a photography contest. I love to click pictures of mountains, lakes, winding roads and nature. I have been the official photographer for many events. I study graphic designing and I love it. I am a model and I love being a model.

Mumbai is my favourite city and South Mumbai is my favourite place. I have imagined a dream mansion house in Mumbai in which I want to live. I wrote an article on my dream house and I felt glad when it got published. My mansion will be colourful, luxurious and bright. It will have wooden flooring, glass windows, roof top swimming pool with deck chairs. There is going to be luxury nightclub room with the pioneer DJ headsteads, microphone and disco lights with English Hip Hop and EDM tracks playing. There is going to be luxury bowling alley room, there is going to be luxury billiards snooker room with triangle snooker clock. There is going to be luxury fitness room with fitness equipments. There is going to be luxury indoor golf simulator room with golf books and golf sets.  There is going to be luxury ensuite cubicle bathroom with bathtub and shower area. There is going to be luxury swanky bedroom. I will work hard to afford my dream house.

I have autism. My experiences are different from your experiences, but I learn from them, like you do. Sometimes the hard way, like you. I like to do things which I plan and I try my best. It does not mean that I don’t face challenges. It does not mean dealing with challenges is easy. It does not mean that I don’t feel frustrated and disappointed. I face problems and easy things become difficult. But we have to do it and we have to find a solution. I go for music concerts. It is very crowded and people push from the back. I stand on the railing in the front and I ignore the crowd and enjoy the music. When I go in the cab sometimes, I want to listen to Radio One but the cab driver refuses. I give help to him to tune in to Radio One patiently. My problem got sorted. I practice poses and expressions in front of the mirror. It helps me.

My journal is like my best friend. I write in my journal every day. Only Mom and Nikita are allowed to read it. When Mom is travelling or she is not at home, I click screenshots of the journal and send her and she reads it. I write in my journal about dreams, flashbacks and  plans. I write about the things which make me anxious. I write about things that make me happy. I don’t miss writing in my journal. I carry it along when I travel.

Posing for the camera and walking the ramp is the best. I have walked the ramp for Benetton three times. I did commercials for Fbb and Big Bazaar. I was in the list of 50 coolest people in South Asia. I don’t suffer from autism. It is not my weakness. It is my strength. All my favourite Marvel characters have superpowers. 

My superpower is autism.  Always keep celebrating your small wins and believe in your superpower!