60th recipient of our help (a wheelchair) : “…. When someone gives him a toffee, or any kind of gift, he will always say, – Please give me two more!, or, … next time please get me three, because I have two brothers!”
Vinayak Burla (7)
Vinayak lives at Prabhadevi; he was named after God Sidhivinayak, being born premature he had a poor chance at survival, so they named him Vinayak, as they wanted their premature born to be safe in His care.
He studies in the 1st Std at ADAPT. ADAT has a school bus that collects the children from their houses and brings them to school and drops them back home too. I visited the school, it was so clean, professionally run.
Vinayak was born with CP (Cerebral Palsy) He can speak a bit and comprehend speech and his limbs are quite able, but he cannot walk. He is a partly-functional CP child.
Vinayak’s father is a kind of electronics service engineer, he repairs gadgets like TV and Mobile phones, etc.
I asked Vinayak’s mother, Lavania, to tell me something’s about her son, things that are challenging for him, what makes him sad, happy, joyful….
She responded to me nearly in one breath! She was so eager to speak about her son, and I must add, she held him so close to herself I remembered a TVC of Fevicol! It seemed they were kind of glued to each other!
Lavania said to me, (she was smiling nearly all the while when she spoke, a very positive woman), – Vinayak likes to play with his elder brother and his younger cousin brother. He can see them walk, run, do things he cannot do. That is when he, and even I, feel some level of sadness and even frustration, about his inability to be able to do what fully-functional kids do at his age, so he cannot be a part of their physical activities how much ever he wants to.
At this age he does not realize why he cannot do things that his own brother and cousin can so easily. So sometimes he cries, and I feel it too… So I tell him every day to get up and at least try and walk, does not matter if he falls one day he will be able to run I tell him. But that is only if he will try. I tell him that every day.
(This is when Lavania got emotional. Soon, I had to hold back my own.)
However, his elder brother and his much younger cousin brother love him immensely, and they go out of the way to spend time with him. Play with him. Let me tell you, how protective they are of him, if anyone dare teases Vinayak they both get enraged, and his younger cousin is half his age and yet fights for him, they both fiercely take up for him! (She smiled.)
They cannot bear to see anyone tease him or harm him even in the slightest of ways.
But Vinayak is also as loving towards his brothers, when someone gives him a toffee, or any kind of gift, he will always say, ‘Give me two more.’, or, he will say, ‘… Next time please bring three, because I have two brothers.’
His speech is not totally audible sometimes, but if you listen with more attention its audible, because his CP is not very severe like many other CP children.
He can play some games on his father’s mobile phone. When he watches TV serials, he gives all of us the names of the TV characters! He is naughty, everyday he changes our names depending on which TV serial he watches! (She laughed).
He reminds me of my house chores sometimes, or of any message that has been left by some visitor for my husband, even though I forget to pass them on, he remembers. He is more alert than us!
One of my happiest and proudest moments was when he received an award for being a good student at school (ADAPT), and he received a trophy in sports. Even he is so proud of it that sometimes he tells his elder brother – ‘You are bigger than me, stronger than me, but look do you have any awards and trophies like I have, and you can even walk and run. Even Mummy and daddy, even you both do not have trophies like I have.’
The meeting was soon over, and as I was on my way to work I thought of what I liked about him – This fragile 7 years young and so called not-fully-functional Vinayak knew the value of what he has, even though he has far less than what we so called fully-functional people are blessed with. Because he was aware his fully-functional family does not have the awards and trophy he has earned!
Freedom to travel the world on his legs, is what we wish on Vinayak. May the donation of this wheelchair become redundant as soon as possible!
I also realized in hindsight, why Mother and son were stuck together like araldite/fevicol sticks things. = Here was a mother who was confident one day her fragile bird is going to get up and fly!, leave her and his wheelchair (his nest for now) far far behind! Then she will not see him often, because the grown up and stronger Vinayak will be busy with his new friends who run, cycle, swim, skip, jump, play football with him.
She was a mother who was keeping her bird as close as possible now to her chest, so that she can savor these precious moments years later when she happily misses her bird who has finally and surely flown.
Thank you to my sister, Suman Datt, (and Vinay Datt) for donating a wheelchair to Vinayak, she and her husband Vinay had told me buy one for any needy child or adult for her Birthday that was in May. Happy Birthday to her, once again.
And, thank you to Varsha Hooja and Amena Latif of ADAPT (Able Disable All People Together) http://www.adaptssi.org/ (Bandra west); for helping me meet this worthy recipient of our help. Both wonderful people doing great jobs in their social welfare cum education profession.