23rd June … That was the day it all begun. My first view of this world. I wish I could turn back the clock and see my first reaction and the joy on my mom’s face, the joy of seeing the first born in the family. My trial by fire too started from there. And let me confess it hasn’t been an easy ride.
The name was SALESH DIPAK. The first part of my name was from Mom and the latter half from Dad. Both my parents get their due. Those were the days when villages in India were still ignorant of Cerebral Palsy and it’s after effects. It’s at age two that I am diagnosed with CP. All because of one dead cell and weakened muscles.
Finding a regular school was tough especially for someone with special needs like yours truly. Hence my first foray into education starts with kids who are specially challenged, I still have vivid memories of those days. I finish my LKG and UKG over there even as my parents continued their frantic search for a regular school continued.
Luckily for me the twist of fate happens sooner rather than later. A minor surgery results in major course correction. It seemed as if some fairy had granted me a wish. Oh yes I can. I still remember my very first steps. A huge relief. I had to walk to with two huge custom made boots though. It was an improvement nevertheless and way better than being carried from place to place.
My first foray into regular school served as a glimpse of what was to follow. Let me tell u regular school was a different world altogether and it all seemed so alien to me. It seemed as if I had landed in a different planet. Besides I had to get used to taking my initial steps after the surgery.
The boots were relatively very heavy but it was necessary hindrance. Regular exercise was a must. The daily morning and evening walks to school became a routine. Holding mom’s hand and walking all the way to school was pure joy. I had someone I can rely on someone who would turn out to be my GUARDIAN ANGEL.
There was a marked difference between my old school and the new one. I wasn’t used to sitting with a group of normal kids in a structured classroom. The ABCD’s and the numbers were all GREEK and LATIN to me. And it was a single teacher for one whole class. I was more used to “A teacher for one kid” principle since we had special needs. But here I was one among many.
The best part of the new school though was the adjoining church which meant I could pray on a daily basis and since all us were just kids none of them treated me with indifference. I guess with age comes the bias and isolation.
Regular school also meant I had to restart my education again from the scratch – I guess I am the only person in the whole world who had done his LKG and UKG twice. But it was good fun nevertheless.
Ah.. Those were the days.. The CARMEL days!
( To be continued )