fun and laughter

Was it just yesterday that the plight of a disabled man locked for 14 years by his family shocked us all. One did not get time to recover from that news that another horrifying incident was brought to light by a TV channel. Little Manikanandan abused and mutilated body violated the space of each and every home, his bewildered eyes replete with questions begging for answers.

Manikanandan is 11. He is mentally challenged and his family too poor to care for him admitted the child in a government run institution. In the last one year the child was subjected to severe torture, his only fault being that he was hyperactive.

This incident makes you wonder whether the parents who chose to lock their child for 14 years in heir home were not actually exercising a better option.

The plight of mentally and physically challenged persons is abysmal to say the least. The government run institutions are hell holes, and families are often in the best case scenario at a total loss for a host of reasons: ignorance, poverty, lack of knowledge and paucity of valid options. This is a market where demands outweighs supply and moreover returns are nil.

fine day a lady landed at our doorstep holding on to 5 special kids. Thir As I have often said, notwithstanding social mores, special children are images of God and caring for them should be viewed not as an chore but as a rewarding experience. It has now been over 6 years since we launched our special section. Another case of force majeure as one school had been closed without notice and they had nowhere to go. For us it was not a question of debate or pondering we simply knew wee had to give these kids an option. Today there are more then 20 kids and young adults in our special section.

Each has his own challenge and yes some can be violent, others hyperactive, some are extremely slow others moody, some cannot hear, others cannot walk, yet others can barely comprehend what is said to them. And yet hey all form terrific team each one helping the other almost instinctively. They spend the whole day together and have a whale of a time. They sometimes fight and argue but is that not what every kid does.

They love going out together but their favourite activity is undoubtedly dancing which they are willing to do at the drop of a hat. We are never needed to 'tie' them up or restrict them in anyway. And we have never felt that anyone one is a impediment or a challenge. Each one of us oves going to their class, actually for me t is a sure way of getting over any feeling of gloom, the best anti-depressant possible.

So you understand why little Manikanandan's plight made my blood boil. How can children be treated this way? How can any government have the audacity to run a home for special children and treat them in this manner? How come there are no ways of keeping a check on such things? Why did it take a year for this poor child to be rescued?

Valid questions indeed in any normal society but probably futile in a society like ours where collective conscience seems to have gone astray. How can one accept suck things to happen and continue happening as this is not the first incident of its kind and will not be he last. wonder how may Manikanandan's there are across our land who are suffering the same plight. Yes there will be an enquiry and some one will be made the passing scapegoat. Politicians will get some mileage, there will some debate, even the parents may get blamed and then all will be forgotten till the next incident happens.

Sadly no one will address the situation and find long term solutions. Things will juts carry on. No one will accept the fact that special children are entitled to a life filled with fun and laughter.

Here are some pictures that show you that the project why special children have a ball all the time!