“Hi bhabhi,” she said and hugged me tightly. “Where were you, why you didn’t come to meet me earlier, what have you got for me?” these were all kinds of questions suddenly thrown at me in the speech that was stuttering and slurring, yet in the sweetest manner.
Yes, Gudiya is a child with special needs. She suffers from a disease called down syndrome yet is not an aberrant individual. Her facial features were different from others but her mind was very sharp.
We crossed our paths when I got married. My first acquaintance with her was when I was sitting in a room trying to figure out things and the people around me. ‘Your lehenga is beautiful, bhabhi. I like your bangles. I like you,’ she said with her innocent eyes fixed on my bangles.
I looked at her and smiled at her and then onwards she became my sweet little friend rather I became her friend. Gudiya was then a girl of 15 years old, fair complexion, with a sweet smile, eyes always wide open. She had a boy cut and used to wear a suit. Even after suffering from Down syndrome, she was smart for her age. She used to help her mother with all her household work. She knew how to buy groceries. She even went to the temple mostly for Prasad(just like any other kid would do). She was a perfect kid who still seemed imperfect to
She always looked for reasons to come and meet me. Her frequent visits were sometimes just to have a look at me. She used to bring toffees for me and I still remember her giving me those sweets always hiding from others and telling me to eat them in front of her only so that nobody stole them from me. And trust me it was nearly impossible to say ‘No’ to her. She was adamant that I should eat it in front of her only and you could not reason with her. Yes, it was annoying at times but still very touching.
She would scold infact at times hit my husband if she saw him speaking with me at a high pitch. Once my husband told her that her bhabhi is upset as she is missing her family and she did all she could within her reach to just bring a small grin to my face.
And now I was meeting her after 10 years. I thought she must have forgotten me. And maybe even if she remembers me she won’t come to me in the same way as earlier.
I was proven wrong by her. The love and affection showered by her were determined to bring tears to my eyes and they did.
She was looking at me in an amused manner as to why was I upset. Has she done something wrong?
I was glancing at her and thinking that she is meeting me in the same way she met me 10 years back. I didn’t have anything to give to her nor she was looking for any favours or gifts from me then also she loved me, and she cared about me. And there it was, the answer, the realization- that why these children are called SPECIAL CHILDREN.
The answer was simple, ‘Why fit in when they were born to stand out?’
They are not special because of their needs but they are special because God has created them in the most special manner, with all the special qualities, with special heart, with special feelings, with no malign or malicious thoughts, hatred, envy, or any other impurities of our so-called civilized society.
They are special because they are pure rare jewels. They are special because they love you unconditionally and don’t judge you if you don’t love them back in the same way. They are special because they don’t need anything from you ever, only a small gesture of smile, waving, giving them a peck on their cheeks is all they need.
They are special because they are not plastic, platonic just like many of us have become. They are ‘REAL,’ which is a rare quality to be found especially in Gen Z. All children with special needs are not avaricious people because, with avarice, you could have everything in the world and still it would not be enough.
God knew of the evils that would become prominent in our world, so he created some beautiful people to keep a balance in the world. He created them so that we all could learn that issues like a breakup in a relationship, not having a big car, not getting a fat paycheck are not the problems, they are merely our lack of abilities to handle our life, to see a bigger picture with a bigger perspective.
Infact children with special needs are the ones who are continuously fighting battles to do even small chores in their daily routine, yet they are always smiling, satisfied, and always full of love.
If God has taken away their one power then he has gifted them with some other special gift. They always have their 6th sense working be it their sense of danger or an ability to learn or remember things differently.
Just like the children are special, the people who are equally special are their parents. The responsibilities are always entrusted to those people whom we know would never let us down. That is the reason why God passes on the task of raising such special children to special parents only. There is a very famous saying and I quote, “As special needs parents we don’t have the power to make life ‘fair,’ but we do have the power to make the life joyful.” And this is what they continuously do without any complaints.
This I recently learned from my closest friend who proudly said that I have a special child and I am a special mother. The respect in my eyes for her just grew tremendously. Managing a child alone is a big task but seeing her manage a child with special needs along with her job made me realise how worthless my cribbings and complaints were.
So next time you see any child with special needs don’t assume him or her to be an imbecile rather take him as God’s favourite child.
We all see their pain no doubt it is big, but let’s see their courage too as it is bigger.
Written By: Bhanu Sahni