“I got married at a very young age of 20. I was in my second year of graduation when it was fixed so I completed my graduation too after my marriage. But upon entering marital life, I shifted my focus completely to my family. They became the axis around which I started to revolve around and my first son was born when I was 22.
Life settled into a comfortable rhythm and fast forward to 5 years down the line, a beautiful baby girl entered our lives. The day she was born was close to unimaginable for us but on the third day, we realised a sudden seizure gripped her fragile body and we were terrified.
Something was terribly wrong and it became even more apparent when we noticed that the baby couldn’t make eye contact. Thus began the journey of my little annapoorni, a cheerful girl who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and suffered from low vision.
What followed were years and years of helping my baby navigate the world, help her learn while ensuring that, at no point, she feels different from the rest of us. Years and years of physiotherapy and assistance helped her write better and year on year, she moved up the grades showing irresistible perseverance and grit. Reading about therapy for low vision in a magazine, I approached the vision rehabilitation specialist at Frontline and slowly, Annapoorni, was able to push through the world through her limited vision and keep breaking new records.
As she entered her 6th grade, when things had started to normalise a little bit, life threw in the death blow from which, it took me 2 years to get back from. My husband passed away in a sudden heart attack! What should have been a usual day, where he drops our daughter at school and returns home, turned into a tragic day filled with immense grief and shock!
First, my in-laws, who were great pillars of support left this world in their peaceful old age years and now, losing my husband, became the thing that pushed me into an intense depression. I couldn’t imagine a world without him and taking in all the support from my parents and my son and every other relative and friend who came in to help, I prodded on for the sake of my children.
At the end of the first year, there was a major accident to my ankle which eventually became the thing that pulled me out. I knew I had to march forward despite the troubling instances so pulling up my socks, I plunged forward once again.
Being a part of the therapy for my child, I started to volunteer at the eye clinic and eventually became a full-timer there. I started to instil hope and courage in every parent who came to us to help their child have a good future. What took me 5 years to diagnose with my kid, moved up to 5 months with these children! Meeting them every day became a part of my daily therapy and working with them and guiding them to make use of their limited vision to the maximum capacity became my purpose towards life. Using my daughter as an example, I help these parents cross uncertain periods of their life with hope and courage; me and daughter have become ideal models to let anyone in this phase know that, nothing is impossible.
In the limited time I got off my work, I started catering; starting with the bare minimum of rotis and parathas. Now, it has commenced once again in the lockdown but due to restricted operations, I am only catering to the needs of the people inside our apartments.
As for my daughter, I would say we are the most privileged folks. She is the apple of all our eyes and everyone in the family, enjoys her company and volunteers to help in as many ways as they can. She’s an extremely good-natured person who won the hearts of everyone around her. Since she enjoys music and having taken Carnatic lessons, her dream is to sing in reality TV shows and sing along with Shankar Mahadevan sir.
I have been defeated so many times but I still get the hope to move forward because of my daughter; she has braved so many things in her life and yet, she remains the same old cheerful girl she always was. It takes very little to please her and she will always remain positive and happy despite how many times life knocks her down.
From here, I learnt that positive thinking is as essential as breathing. Thinking back to those days brings back immense sadness and numbness, but I think of all the good memories and they help me float through. For what it’s worth, each and every child is a precious gift from the divine and it is our responsibility to nurture each and every life in this world with equal respect and responsibility.”