Sometimes, Silence Speaks….
Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see…
Those large eyes tug at the heart strings right away, even as I spot a glint of mischief in them. As he breaks into an impish grin, it certainly melts my heart! Neatly combed hair defines his cherubic, delicately powdered, and ever-smiling face, radiating positive energy and good cheer
As you glance at Vel, you would never guess that he is deaf and dumb by birth. You may notice a slight squint, but his disarming smile instantly warms you. He hails from a humble background, his father is a vegetable vendor and his mother works in a tailoring unit. Vel has an older brother and the two of them share sibling love and rivalry like in any normal family. However meagre their means, they exhibit a generous helping of affection for each other.
Active and talented for his young years, Vel understands sign language and even knows how to read and write Tamil. A star student at the St. Louis Institute for Deaf and Blind, he has carved a niche in the hearts of his teachers and peers. But with the pandemic, things changed. There was no school to go to, but this didn’t deter him from pursuing his education. His drive and determination are indeed admirable.
He would arrive at sharp 8 am, neatly dressed, with books tucked under his arm. The terrace at my home became his new classroom. When I browsed through his books, the first thing that struck me was his flawless and neat handwriting, almost like a string of lustrous pearls. Most children his age, are playful and quite happy if school is shut. I was amazed at his curiosity and keen willingness to learn, rather unusual for someone his age.
Impressed with his enthusiasm and spirit, I bought him a bilingual book to learn English in 30 days, which also had Tamil translations, for him to understand better. I got him a shiny new school bag so he could pack all his books into it, and make it easy for him to carry his books back and forth. Vel’s sharp mind does not stop only with academics, his thirst for knowledge makes him explore other horizons as well.
Excited and diligent, Vel has researched the range of electronics available, especially mobile gadgets. He has painstakingly made a list of all the models available along with their price, and shows it with great pride. He won my heart with the fact that here was a child who despite being differently-abled was so positive, cheerful, and making a genuine effort at trying to overcome his handicap.
I listened to the voice of my heart and sent Vel to a hearing aid centre for an audiogram. Once his condition was assessed, I enquired about fitting him with a hearing aid. I was told it would cost close to Rs. 27000. This is where I would like your help friends, for every dropdoth an ocean make! Any cash contribution from all you kind-hearted souls out there
would make a huge difference.
One thing the pandemic has highlighted is the importance of caring and sharing. Keeping this spirit in mind, together, we can try to give Vel a normal childhood and help him grow into a responsible adult. Eventually, I also hope Vel will be able to undergo a corrective eye surgery for his squint. With a little help from you all, I know it will be possible. Lets’ try and make a small difference which could prove to be a life-changer for Vel.
None are so deaf as those those that will not hear.
So, let the milk of human kindness overflow…
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