Meeting Ramya on New year's Eve was refreshing. Refreshingly positive.
Ramya's daughter, Tharini is all of 4 years old , tall for her age, has big black eyes that stare at you for all of 5 minutes and then maybe, maybe her lips will curve into a little smile. But not at you, its to herself? - for feeling assured that here is a person who is okay? No one knows. Because she doesn't speak. Nor does she relate to people.
Tharini has Attention Deficiency Syndrome which means she doesn’t concentrate long enough to register things or people or what is happening.
She has learnt to say a few words and Ramya's beaming pride as Tharini says 'bye 'fills the heart. She overflows with joy when Tharini says a rhyme which is barely decipherable. She is happy when Tharini responds to one command in a hundred. It’s a milestone.
Because Ramya, has been through so much with her daughter. So many hours of therapy – activity, speech, attention. So many doctors. So many worries. So many embarrassing situations.
People would be quick to disapprove of a child who won’t listen, who pulls things off their plates in buses and trains, who will lie down and scream in frustration when she can’t express herself and nobody can understand her.
Ramya was one of those girls I love to bemoan now - a few years ago. Pampered, sheltered, pretty and sure Prince Charming was going to sweep her away and keep her on white cushions for the rest of her life. Her wedding to a tall, good looking executive was all she dreamed about.
Life was good when she gave birth to this wonderful baby doll whom she dressed up as well as she could. But slowly when Baby wouldn’t respond to any spoken word, she got worried. She went to a slew of doctors and grew up rapidly.
Yet, Ramya has lost none of her zest. She dresses up prettily, and her daughter is part of the package, shops madly, cooks exotically , chats entertaingly and finds time for tanjore paintings which she sells. Inspite of a child who might stick her head in the fridge for an hour and won’t be torn away inspite of cajoling or beatings.
Trouble brings out the best in people, and Ramya shines.