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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The World Beyond the Doorway!

I squinted to check if her eyes were moist. But I was amazed to spot a rather different shine in her cornea. A shine that clearly seemed to be cherished out of a mingling of  a flood of motherly affection, a deep sense of helplessness, a small trace of self pity, a bright spark of hope, a firmness of a resolution, a feeling of altruism and a love for humanity. The eyes seemed to have cried a thousand tears in the past, but now they had become a strong source of sparkling of a new light.
As I scrutinized her visage and her emotions, she continued talking in her gentle, soft -spoken  manner with pauses that were perfectly spaced. She repeated , " It was tough to accept that he wasn't normal.", but this time in such an intonation that signaled the harbinger of a melancholic personal anecdote. She began painting the portrait of the life of her differently-abled son. 

The portrait was answering my cliche questions in the most enticing ways. The insight into the outline of the life of the special child of the middle-aged lady transformed the hot North- West Indian wind blowing beneath my nose into a breeze of respect for the lady- Mrs. Neela Modi. She covered every aspect that a special child faces. "The physically developed but mentally retarded individual has almost all the bitter juices in store of his life. The mentally meek tyke is looked down on by the society. He stumbles at every step, towards, the warranted- the Death.", she said. 

Her motto of initiating and developing the Kalrav Special School in a town like Bharuch was undoubtedly noble. She added another paint to the portrait, "I had to send my son at a residential special school 200 kilometers from my house. It wasn't an easy decision. Such children need extra care from their families." For the very reason the woman of high ideals, resigned from her post as a Class 2 officer, for the service of special children of her locality, so that they need not be sent to residential special schools like her child. "Such residential schools make the special children socially- disabled too.", she added. 

With the divulge of every difficulty in the lives of such children, I dug deeper into drench of thoughts about the their ill- treatment by the normal world . But as Mrs. Modi concluded, "I am glad, Miss Vrushti Trivedi, that you do care for them and are here to be a part of their learning process.",  I suddenly gained back my sense of presence, which reminded me of how I happened to visit the Kalrav school.  It also reminded me of how I had been inspired by one of my friends, the CEO of Serve Happiness Foundation, Mr. Nitin Tailor while we talked of service to the society, to spread moments of euphoria in the lives of the special children. So, there I was, sitting in front of Mrs. Neela Modi and elucidating to her the purpose of my visit. 

Anon, Mrs. Modi introduced to me the tutor of the students, a young gentleman who had done his B.Ed in Education of Special Children. Then we walked through the doorway that  led me into the special world of ecstasy.   
There were around a 100 such students in the school

I had met several such kids before. I had even interacted with a few of them. But that was in the world where they were considered as "Mad Minds". But this sight of this world was quite different. In this world on the other side of the doorway, their innocence  was not mutated my the invasion of thoughts of the mean world. They were in company of people who appreciated their presence. Each petal of their world formed a flower of their own society, giving them a new confidence to keep up with the world of misers. 

 As I stepped into the room, there were faces that gleamed with an unknown light- a light  of deviation from the normal. They smiled several times more than the normal people do, without a tangible reason. Their expressions were baskets of pristine confessions. As I scanned through their faces, each one gazed at me with such gestures as those of astonished toddlers. They greeted me with the most welcoming of welcomes. Their hands joined with joy and faces giggled with rhapsody. With such greetings, I too entered the doorway of the new world to blend into it like the sweetest of sugars. 

We all worked together to learn alphabets, typing and such other skills. Their tutor said,  "These children require a playful and a practical implementation approach of teaching." So, I tried being a perfect friend to them. And as days rattled towards the end of  May, I had already been a part of their laughter. Their talks weren't intellectual, but in their world they told everything actual. The sheath of the masks of unreal traits were peeled off by God before these students were born. Yet along with the peeling of these superficial and supercilious sheaths, God had sliced their fruits of mental developments into such smaller fragments that couldn't even be searched by the most powerful of microscopes. 

They were facing letter identification difficulties, memory problems and such other mental complications which could never even be thought of by normal people. At times they struggled with A's and M's, and at other times they weren't able to memorize the English word for "haanthi". I showed a student the photo of the elephant and told him that it is known as an elephant in English language. When I asked him to repeat what I taught, he became as blank as the ice sheaths in Antarctica. So, I paused and then looked into his eyes, they were trying to communicate a gentile message to me, but I wasn't able to perceive the signals. For a second, silence prevailed, spreading jimjams in my physique. His eyes were intimidating enough to be holding my gaze. He possessed some unnatural power to create an aura of a miraculous affection that tried communicating with my soul but I was unperceptive enough to receive the message. With a sigh of helplessness, I simply broadened my lips for a saturnine smile, but the student smiled back with such an expression that was radiant enough to light the brightest of wicks. Yet, with all his smiles over his peccadilloes, my heart cried the most hurting of tears.
Their Eyes had some hidden messages!

But then a series cogitation soothed my pain. I thought that those living under the shadow are rather protected by the heat of the blazing Sun. Besides the hackneyed considerations of their talent as adept dancers, painters, swimmers and musicians, they possess much of the greatest of virtues- the piousness of their souls. I experienced the happiest of notions in their presence. They are affable and possessed the strength to reciprocate every tinkle of emotion showered upon them. They are as pure as the aesthetics yearn to become. 

While I was still contemplating, a sweet voice interrupted my thoughts, "Mam! How about this?". She showed me a perfectly drawn 'A'. I patted the girl and sprinkled the droplets of appreciation upon her. I know it would have sounded weird in the normal world. But for those moments I felt that I was a part of their world. Just like them I left aside all the worries and danced from within like a naive. I had planned to serve them, to teach them tackle their lives, but I had ended up being taught by them. They taught me to be present in the "moment". They taught to cherish the childish innocence without age barriers. They taught me to be encompassed by churls but yet remain polite and stable. They taught my soul to mix with the filth and yet be as clear as Himalayan streams.
They knew computer!

 Every child of each group : Minor, Moderate, Severe and Educable (based on their Intelligent Quotient Reports ) had something in store to provide me with. I packed up all their smiles, chatters, talks, affectionate gestures and teachings into the backpack of life to move on  further in my journey. My last glance of the two- storied learning center was full of faces that were wondering with enchantment when I bid them a final bye. Maybe, they didn't know that this was among the last times that we were together. But such separations too didn't matter to them because farewells are detachments of physical presence, but their hearts had already made a place for their "Madam" ( as they called me), never to be rubbed off. 

I taught them certain elementary skills
I was bound to walk out of the world, for I had "Miles to go before I sleep." Like Frost, I too was allured by the sight of these students but the temporariness of things in life is the very bitter truth. I stepped towards the office for thanking Mrs. Neela Modi to let me occupy a place in the special world. But she said, "Rather I must thank you. In this world people actually don't care for minds that could not compete with theirs. Even the siblings of such children are abashed of staying around them.

I had hundreds of words in mind, but her answer boggled me. I wondered why people couldn't comprehend that such differently- abled people are humans too. They too need words of appreciation. They too would love to earn respect in the society. If we could do nothing for them, then at least we could be genial towards them.

But I knew that philanthropy has just become a hypothetical concept and no one really bothers about the meek. In the world where average minds too have no place, can we accommodate such minds that are not even complex enough to be called the minds? Well, such questions are not to be answered in words. Their answers lie within the inner conscience of every human. We need to check if our hearts are soft enough to accept the tenderness of special people.

It was fun to be with them!

But the very next moment, as I was rummaging over an accumulation of a mixed set of positive and negative emotions in my mind, an abrupt sense of contentment spread within me. I knew that thinking about people is a broad scenario, if I individually did something, it is going to be advantageous to me emotionally as well as in terms of learning new aspects. I had pledged as I walked out of the school, though their siblings are ashamed of their existence, I would proudly say to the world, " Yes I do have friends who are mentally retarded, or to use a euphemism, are differently- abled. And they are a trillion times better than this mean world." 

I looked back for a last view of the school building. It stood there under the heat of the heated Sun. The red reddening rays of the Sun touched the bricks as though they were trying to penetrate through the the ceiling to look into the classrooms to watch innocence and tenderness bloom to its fullest and learn lessons of piousness of the soul, like I learnt. 

Their smiles were brighter than the brightest of wicks!


  1. Hey Vrusti, Did a great job.
    They are differently abled, special childrens who too are a part of society but sometimes people does not recognise them as they are. .

    we, me and my family, have been to Kalrav School several times. .we used to celebrate birthdays with those childrens and the happiness we get with them is different as the happy faces of them adds more happiness into our lives. ...

    May the Almighty shower his mercy on them....aamin

    1. Thank you very much for reading this piece of work that is meant to evoke feelings for these innocent minds.
      I am really glad to know that you visit Kalrav regularly. I think this is the best thing that people like us could do for these innocent special kids!