Having a baby is one of those select life when things we haven’t thought of come into focus and good happens in mysterious ways. Feeling chippered, reconciled, dizzy and completely in the twilight zone are merely words that can express the thoughts of seeing this miracle infront of your eyes. Seventeen years ago we had this delight of holding our goblet of joy in our hands. Someday if I draw up the list of miracles in life this will top the list.
I gave him a name that sounded of all gentleness,depth and dignity;Prithvi. Within a year, his jubiliant esprit would beat any timetable. He would make a mad house of the rooms everyday, getting himself into unthinkable fixes. But he hadn’t yet made talking breakthrough. I told myself that he was late starter. As months slipped by,he eventually started uttering few words. His restlessness did concern me but lack of proper guidlines left me with no option but to enroll him into a nursery school. He was a tornado there too but teachers did manage him well. Once he was enrolled into kindergarten, he was expected to sit still, keep his voice down’behave’, that was beyond his control and my fears proved right, he was tossed out of school.
I sought clinical review and found out that he had ADHD. That was hearbreaking but I had to rise above this agony. We had sittings with psychiatrist to get to the core of the problem. She was a remedial teacher as well. She took him under her wings; trained him to do basic things of life like eating,personal hygiene, etc. At home I gave it my all;working with his vocabulary and other skills. Time and again I saw flashes of real intelligence in my boy. He would often burst into the bathroom gleefully plob into the bucket of water. He seemed relaxed that moment. Yet the next day or the next moment he would retreat behind a mask of silence or explode into uncontrollable hyperactivity. I approached ‘Umeed’ to get the real prognosis of what was it that was actually wrong with my boy. I knew he had potentials for growth but feared of him being classified mentally ill;as it would mean end of the road for him. At ‘Umeed’ I was told that he was autistic. I was asked to put him into a school set up and avoid home tutoring. I reluctantly got him into a special school. But the 6 year stint produced no miracles. I actually had to work hard to undo the unwanted traits he picked up at the school. I am still working with him on different aspects of his behaviour with professional interventions. I am optimistic that with resourcefulness and imagination he would be able to work at tasks that offer challenges and satisfaction. I know ,that this is an effortful campaign. I will not stop convincing people of my son’s veiled abilities that has to supported with opportunities. I am not going to rest before I consider my son independent. Today, when I look at Prithvi my spirit soars and I am mused to see him celebrate seventeen years of his being.I will walk through the dream someday,see my boy who is bright, inintuitive, witty, thoughtful-without a prospect in sight right now, make a huge difference.
Days ago I had gone over to see my ailing neighbour. It was more than thirty years that I visited this place. While making through the lanes reminiscences of the past were unfolding;honest to God, serene and spellbinding moments of life. Now that charm had faded away but I would preferably bear in mind the days when it existed.
Leafing through the memories I pictured Shipra and Saloni, my playmates. The summer’s of late 70’s spent in their company is etched on my soul. No dashed hopes and life manifested itself with purity. We built castles in air but the images designed and characterized by us were the kinds that even accomplished writers would find it hard to concieve.
Three little girls with minimal needs and everything possible. Our toys were modest but eyes interpreted thoughts easily. Those hand made dolls had our souls unlike the pricey scrawny ones of today with recorded messages concealed in their hearts. Something that vexes me and fazes me out. Because dolls cannot be progammed to say what a child has in mind!.We cooked down by our playhouse, a small corner under the stairway.
Leaves became bread and pebbles became potatoes. Breads were pan baked and potatoes were cooked in saucepans over the stove from our humble kitchen set. Sometimes we draped ourselves with towels and shawls, that made our sari’s and we taught in school that had mediocre pupils. They required spanking too.
We built miniature cities out of mud and water mortar, provided roads with signboards of cardboard hexagons. It was just nickel and dime to ignite the fire of our dreams then but today it takes much more to keep existence zestful. Spinning tragic stories was on the list too, to add that spooky effect to our lives.Barefoot we would kick down the dust in the backyard, chase one another and talk through eachothers hat;yet our feet kept time with the pulse of the earth. We were growing beautifully. Things started changing deftly and then like a flash. We parted.
Here I was standing by the stairway, staring blankly at the deserted corner beneath it. We left the beaten path and moved into a new world that seemed entrancing but was too pressing and real. The hee haws gave over to clumsy sniggers, play swapped for working to make a living, trivial talks made way to serious conversations. The spell had vanished.The charm had faded away..