A share of Prisha’s artwork led to an idea. It got me started on thinking how I can share my journey to help more mums see how creative their kids are as well. Many ask me questions about Prisha’s creativity. I often hear that it’s inborn talent. I differ on that. If this was true....why do doctors kids often follow that profession, infact most kids end up following the same profession as their parents. Musicians’s kids are great at music. Of course there are exceptions yet in most cases this is so. It’s coz of the environment that they live in, what they are exposed to and willing you are to instill that in the kids. How much are you ready to help them develop that. With Prisha’s hearing loss it was hard to get her to relax and get her to listen. I used art that turned out to be therapy that helped her in many more ways and now we can think of it as a profession as well. I have spent endless hours on helping her with understanding art, become a keen observer, be self motivated and get to where she is today. Being her first art teacher, a lost artist myself , I wanted to extend it to others. Hence today I have given out an offer to hold a workshop for mothers in my community around to share my journey of art therapy and how to build creativity in kids. Am so excited! Of course this is FREE!!! 😄😉❤️. That’s just so me! A child benefiting is my biggest reward.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
|Love her blank look|
|The make up!|
This morning I woke up two to photos on my what’s app which needed an opinion. I loved what she did. So this morning she was at it. Out came the dress and then the eye shadows and the liner and lipstick. What we have ....we use! And once make up was in place, she did her hair into untidy pig tails. As I looked at her I truly wondered at this celebration around the world and I admired the spirit she had to participate. She knows not many at school shall be doing it up yet that didn’t stop her from doing it. And she was ready to go. I pulled her for quick pictures as she rushed to school. On the way she edited them to look more scary! She was equally worried that I might die of fear as well. In all the look was complete and she is a happy person. I am glad that in all the crazy rush of many thugs she finds ways to ease her mind, be creative and make the best use of resources, time and moments.
Isn’t that what truly life should be like? Accept what you have and live for what you have an make use of what you have! Coz life is like that!
It’s that time of the year when it’s time for the parent teacher conference. Prisha is always excited about knowing what her teachers have to say. She loves to hear the feedback from her teachers whether it’s positive or negative. She says she learns to be stronger and positive and wants to know where she can improve. All her teachers have given such a positive feedback and say that she had brought so much positivity and energy at school. She works hard, is involved and has so much confidence. It feels good to know that all the hard work, dedication, sweat and tears are going the right way. Still have a long way to go though. Her dances were appreciated as much as her art that finds place in each subject. She loves PE and that blows me away. Her PE teacher tells me often about how he loves her confidence and her attitude to give it her all. Most said they had nothing to give back except good things. It gave me more strength specially when there are days I worry about her future which is normal when you have a child who has had many challenges in her life. She has had many and each time we talk and be positive about it and work forward because is there any other way? Being positive is the way to go! The highlight this time was when her STEM teacher said that in the short time that he knows her he feels she is a wonderful student and has grown in the new subject at school. He is now ready to give her responsibilities as she is ready for leadership roles! Woohooo! Isn’t that wonderful ! We have struggled always with building her confidence and getting her to hear this just made my day! Every moment we work on making her feel strong and confident about her life. To be accepted and given such feedback is so motivating. Her scores made me proud and I feel grateful yet again for having a great mentor in early years who gave us yet another such grateful moment. Her understanding of language at the level now is challenging yet she has scored 75% and up. I can’t be more relived and grateful for this day.
Friday, September 14, 2018
|The room with a view, a mug with a message....Ideas worth drinking! Perfect place to learn|
At NJIS, she seems to settle pretty well. This year she just has 4 other students in class. At times I am ennerved then I calm myself down thinking of positive thought. There is a reason she is here and destiny shall pave her path. This school she is getting exposed to art and public speaking. So I am all out to use these for her. The teachers are fantastic. Her public speech teacher is a TED talk speaker and who better can give her tips on public speaking than her! After me she has to start these talks and has to inspire parents, specally the mothers to work with their kids! Ms. Ilonka is an amzing teacher with so much to offer! So when I heard she is holding "art for terified kids" I enrolled her for that without getting into details as I know she would give a huge extention to art besides just draw and paint. True....that is so right!! Prisha and I went in yesterday and we realize that this is one of the best things to happen to us! I walked into her class to observe and I became her student! Those 30 mins with her taught me so much more. I learnt to visualize art through writing and quotes. They just spoke to my soul and before I realized I was actually painting! After years of sitting at home and trying to do various things, this was a wonderful extention of my life! As Ilonka preped up for the class, Prisha played the piano....another thing that we wanted to learn and see how she got to play it! The whole ambiance was amazing! Art and music is the best combination anyways!Prisha and I painted and had such a good time finding ourselves through those writings.
|Public speaking classes|
Today Prisha had her public speaking class, and I thought of sitting in as a learner. I feel they would help me guide Prisha at home and also it would help me in my speeches as well. The time just flew and it was wonderful to find my confidence there. All the speeches done in the past have given me a voice thats not afraid to come out in the open. The small nuances and essentials made me feel quite at home. I saw Prisha answering quite a few things with confidence. It gave me a small eye view of what she does in her classrooms and if she is really involved in the conversations with the teachers I am so happy that this part of learning shall open so many doors for Prisha and help her build her future in a positive way.
I am happy to be there more as a learner myself with Ilonka. There is no age to learn and am so happy to be a student and be learning alongside my daughter. She has been a big turning point in my life and she gave me a chance to learn so much without having to read books. My silver greys are growing yet my mind keeps me wanting to learn as a little student. After all there are so many wise people in the world whose knowledge can benefit my thinking process and perhaps help me to extend that to others. I am grateful each day for these blessings. After all its moments like these that make you better people with more good things to add in life.
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
My journey with Prisha has been a very arduous one. All kinds of ups and downs have made it enriching yet exhausting as well. Perhaps coz I got too overinvolved and barely took time off for myself anywhere. Everything was around her and the rest of the time went by in looking after my family. Shopping, enjoying time for myself came much later once she seemed settled in her schooling and started to work by herself. Yet I have to stand around as a counselor, nurse, doctor, guide and support at all times. Our moves have been quite a big culprit for her stress and insecuroties. Lack of friendships due to our moves have made her dependent on me. Yet in whatever time I could steal I did try to do what I could. I baked, got the Indians together for lunches to have a support group, volunteering at schools and trying to keep active with my creative skills of phtography, sketching etc.
Yet I realized that what really kept me most excited was reaching out and sharing my story everywhere. I felt it was my duty to tell my story for others to be aware and perhaps be able to help someone who seeks help. I blogged, wrote on various forums and started to give talks at schools and various public forums by invite. It all started when she was 6 and I went to a deaf school in Delhi and gave my first talk in front of an audience of 200 or so consisting of deaf students, teachers, volunteers from schools. It was a pretty moving experience when few kids wanted to touch me to see if I was real and how lucky was Prisha to have a mother who strived to make her speak. Soon after I went to a German school to talk about India and I realized that it was something I truly enjoyed and could speak from my heart. I didn't need a script really. My various conversations with new parents of deaf kids gave me a confidence slowlyy but steadily. I started to go to classrooms in Prisha's school to make them aware about deafness. I realized how the community was open and welcoming. Soon I was doing it as a regular in her classrooms and then that got extended when I became a substitute teacher at Frankfurt International School, Oberursel. My talks in classrooms became a big bridge for Prisha as the kids started to accept her and applauded her for being so strong.
|Consulate General of India, Frankfurt|
My move to Jakarta after Germany was a tough one. Yet before I fell into complacencey, I decided to hold talks in places I could. Jakarta was very welcoming and accepting in hearing my voice. Schools like Ishine, Ismile, Aluna, Women forums like High Tea, IWA, deaf community at the church and many others soon invited me to share, help and connect up. It helped me soon to be invited to International seminar by commissioner of child protection to her events as a speaker regularly. Being a part of a community of elite keynote speakers from renowned universities and government organizations helped me build my confidence. Looking at me, Prisha too developed a confidence to be able to talk on disabilties awareness and gave 2 speeches at her own school. It made me believe in what I do to get a lot of love and respect from the community around.
Last year has gone by in initiating a volunteer group for a special school and then move on to met other schoos where we could support them in ways possible. Jakarta isn't an easy place though to make changes. Everyone has a pace and its not easy to move things. Yet my little efforts are now being paid off in different ways. I am talking on various topics besides just deafness. I was asked to step in and talk on role of early intervention in kids for preschools like Lollikids and Ismile. They wanted to hear a parent"s perspective and how it changed my life. Connecting with teachers and parents has been an enriching experience for me.
It was the happiest moment as in 25 years of being home, I was on an all expense paid trip to be a part of an Internatioanl seminar! With 3 other speakers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan, it was a very humbling experience. To be appreciated and applauded by 200 odd audiences, it made my belief stronger that if we believe in our work and persistantly work, we could acually make a difference in our lives and of those around us. Its been 12 years of sharing my work and voice and to be rewarded by this was amazing. I am now looking forward to my two upcoming talks at international events where Prisha shall be performing as well. Its been an amazing journey so far and I am grateful that I documented my journey and I hence got a chance to share my story on a US based website as well. These little acknowledgements and rewards have been my motivation besides seeing happy parents whose kids benefited with my inputs. 25 Talks and counting!! Isn't that how we can change our narrative? Yes I changed mine....one talk at a time!
|Femina 2008, January|
Friday, March 30, 2018
|Class field trip|
We started with Art and the teacher was very supportive and said since her grades are all A+, he had nothing to add. He loves her attitude to learn, is settled and is like a sponge, he is happy to have her each day after school. He is planning a field trip to the art market close by and I am so excited about going with him. The PE teacher too had good things to say but yes being inactive in that area for 3 years has got her to lag behind but he thinks she is progressing well. The teacher is supportive and understanding and we are so happy to have him teacher her.
Meeting the counselor at school was very lovely. She said we had a great child, who is eager to learn, settled well and is liked by everyone in general. She was happy that we support her in many ways and did say I was a different kind of mum , lol. She said in the world of parents seeking only achedemics, she is ahppy to see us supporting her every move. So thankfully we had nothing but good things to talk.
Meeting her Bahasa teacher was great. Prisha came running in with an exciting exchange of greetings. She beamed as we walked in and appluded us for having a good, artisti and happy child who learnt well and she in fact felt that Prisha's ideas in class for activities etc were great. It helped her a lot as well. She offered us a chance for Prisha to learn an Indonesian dance and perform for Indnesian day as she loved her dance at school! We jumped at it! It was great to see the happiness on her face and we can't wait to see how Prisha would do that!.
The social science teacher was very happy to have us talk about her. She felt Prisha was good in a team as a good player and added her inputs well. She said her attitude to learning, her concentration and promptness with homework etc really made her an outstanding kid. She felt Prisha was excited about learning new things and is very sincere besides being always chirpy! I rememebered how Prisha was always left out at the old school and we just wished to hear anything good where she was part of a group without issues. Those years we only looked for support and here the teacher said she supported other kids when needed! I just felt at peace coz I know my child well. How sad that they didn't see her this part due to their own incapability.
Advisory is new to us and when we sat down to talk....he said.....Prisha is going to be a change in the world!! I was stunned and kept listening. He said she is extremly positive and hence is a positive influence on her class. She is inspiring and other kids can learn a lot from her! He added she was an example of sorts and they all can learn a lot from her. He addd that he would love if his daughter could have prisha as her friend!! I was overwhelmed as till now we were hoping she can have friends and here a teacher wanted Prisha to be his daughter's friend. You just start to be grateful. He said she had such qualities and strengths with which she was managing her self and her life and these qualities could be brought out and used on other kids! Her dance and speech were a motivation for other kids as not many kids come forward at this age. So her coming out has opened doors for others as well! She is self motivated and finds ways to cope with life and that's what education is truly all about! She has it in her to do things for her. Despite limitations she has survival skills that are great. He was amazed to hear how profoundly deaf she is and yet she does what she does and he is happy to have Prisha under him. He told Prisha she is lucky to have a mum like me....lol. It just felt so overwhelming and gratifying. He took our blog name and said he would love to share it with his friends. He told us such lovely things and said go ahead and change the world both of you! After facing 2.5 years of the nonsense....this was such a validation of what we believe in!
English and Maths were wonderful as well and they were very open to helping Prisha in many ways besides the regular class work. Her sincerity and maturity was appreciated and they said they would be happy to record things on phone so she can hear later as well. She needs to be challeneged in Maths as she found she could do more and he was happy to support. English teacher was happy to make extra worksheets as well in areas she needs support.
|NJIS got my confidence back!|
As the 3 hours conference ended I sat in the car still taking in what transpired at school. The flashback of the past years, the struggles at each school, the frustrations each day of finding our way, the constant efforts made to build a rapport with each teacher despite their own ways, the depressions of dead ends, the bullying, the uncoopertaive world around, the people who jeered and hurt us and endless search for the atmosphere where she is accepted with what she is....finally found all that in NJIS ! They believe in her, they support her and they give her a chance....all things may not yet be perfect yet but after all that we have gone through in various schools, she turned out stronger and has made a personality which is appreciated and we are grateful for all that we have here. What one school can do not just for a child but for an entire family! Each teacher appreciated her and me for giving her the right support. It felt good to be recognized by teachers as a great mum who changed her life and each time I said she is the one who made me! She is mature and very strong and our partnership as mum and daughter has only matured over the years. I still yell, correct, cajole, advise besides stressing her, questioning her, listening, pushing and counseling. My role in her life is still long way to go. But I don't have to work as much. I have made her self motivated, driven and positive with all my firm behavior, never giving in to tantrums in early years.
Such times I rememeber ma'am Hudlikar saying many times....your deaf child will give you many more moments of joy and happiness than you could ever dream of. Just keep working with them and soon they would bring you joy! All those years are bearing fruits in the school here. We still toil, fret, fume and frustrate but for such moments of joy and happiness its all worth it. Each achievement has much more meaning as they come with many more hours of sweat, tears and heartaches. We have much more to achieve as we embark on the next part of the school year.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Having doubts about speech in the initial years was normal with a deaf child. Yet I always dreamt that my kids would sing as well as I was heavily into singing in my growing up years. So it was a blow to hear that all my singing in the 1st year of her birth literally fell on 'deaf ears' ! Yet I didn't give up that dream and while she did her job in the washroom, I would sing various notes in music with expressions to help her differentiate between the notes.Soon we were singing away our daily sentences and she copied me like a monkey! It was fun time therapy with her doing exactly what I did. Soon started her on dancing with the TV on....looking at all the hindi Bollywood dances. Encouraging her with no idea of how much she was picking up. I feel at times it good to be ignorant and keep walking your belief. She would dance to "Kajrare kajrare" of Aishwarya Rai and I would like it. It kept us busy as well plus the destressing factor.
|Touch the sky!!|
She loves Bollywood and hence when here in Jakarta, we got a chance, she would take part in dances. Yet she wasn't as encouraged as they felt the kids prefer the Hip Hop style and modern dances!! She still kept doing where she could manage. Her love for Bollywood made her feel the need to keep pining for a chance. Her aunt would encourage her by sending her beautifully stitched Indian dresses which she loved to show off!
|Go for it my girl!!|
She watched Youtube for the latest dance Ghoomar and since time was short, she decided to put two together so that she is able to do a 3 min performance without issues. The later half was a dance she had done earlier. I loved the enthusiasm and the way she downloaded an app and found a perfect way to make the music flawless!
|It matters to be acknowledged.|
On stage, she did a good job and we heard the crowd cheering for her. It was so heart warming to see each teacher, many parents and kids flocking to her and complimenting! Few knew of her disability and hence they were pretty baffled about it! As she basked in all the glory....she moved to the elevator to go back, her classmates were waiting there as well. They all cheered her and she was thrilled. It was perhaps the first time she found acceptance in class that made her extremely happy. They cooperated in taking pictures with her and she felt so thrilled. Its very important for everyone feel accepted and this acceptance works as a boost for confidence in us. I saw how this change of school and performance made her happy. My friends who have seen her dark phase say she looks happier and face is clearing up. She looks happier and calmer and it makes me grateful for what it is now. We hope to soon perform again at school and help her blossom more. She has been through a lot since her birth and we as family can only support and help her in her journey which isn't easy. Specially being global citizens, life does come with a price!
The link to her dance is Here !
Thursday, March 15, 2018
|Something that we never thought would happen|
|Her art flourishes after years|
I know more certificates would come...but these two shall hold a special place in our heart forever. She makes us grateful for all that she is and as her parents every struggle is worth it all.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
|A great start with Her name to begin with...Goddess of learning!|
Disabilities should find inclusiveness and acceptance as its a huge part of society. As years are going by, more new disabilities are finding space and we are at a point where we can no longer close our eyes to it. Inclusiveness not only helps the child but also their parents as they feel they are being heard and not just kept out. I have to see my vision finding a place. Its been a small cause close to my heart since Prisha's deafness. Finding ourselves as the "odd ones out" most times , I feel the pain of parents who are seeking a place for their kids and the general empathy lacking in society about disabilities due to lack of awareness. Hence I have been very verbal about it in every forum...be it seminars, forums, schools or even communities around me. The bubble that many live in, there is little space for such causes and hence they need to know and feel as human as that creates a more aware society and a better world.
Inclusion and acceptance of disabilities and over and above empathy for them in the heart of society is on my mind. I have seen and faced how no one understands how much it means to be respected for what you are and are going through. It means even more when you are made to feel at home and included in society. They don’t need pity and sympathy. Just acceptance, inclusion with few adjustments and be seen as human as they themselves are. Hence every place I am at I end up talking about the center I have come across. Multiple disabilities yet all are together and are happy kids. They need to be stepping out into a bigger world and even if a few are integrated...its a step forward. Its about one hand at a time.
The head of the school has agreed to take a few students and a teacher in 2 weeks and visit the disability school and take it up as a project for learning for the students. I shall be coordinating between the schools! I am so excited about this as its a kind of dream come true! Its just not about my dream for myself but for a few kids who deserve a bit more opportunities in the world outside. Its humbling and very fulfilling and I hope I can handle this. The volunteer group for mums was formed just few weeks ago and is already having many members and meet ups and work is being done as and when needed. This is the next big step! I am hoping that this dream is fulfilled and I can see few kids soon move from the center to a normal school through collaborative work. As I scribbled on the board....I felt as if there was a divine intervention. What a way to start !! Writing the name of goddess of learning on a absolutely clean white board does indicate something!
Meanwhile I am happy to keep putting my thinking cap, do some leg work, talk to few people around and get few things rolling for a larger purpose in life! Isn't that what we are looking at or should be aiming at? Beyond myself and out there holding one hand at a time! I shall update as the days go!
Sunday, February 18, 2018
|1st day at school|
Her first day at school had her excited yet very nervous. Starting afresh isn't easy as you have to face a whole new bunch of new faces and adjust with them. Carrying the bagggage of GMIS with us was a lot too. She has learnt to be more cautious about people. Its interesting to note that we both have learnt to read people very well. She reads eyes, faces, body language and is able to say what could be going inside of the person's head. In a way its great and some days I am afraid as she looks at me and I feel she has seen my soul. As a mum I am trying hard to mask my feelings a lot. I can't hurt my kids with my fears and make them weak.
The teachers were informed about her condition and the kids were prepared for her. She was welcomed warmly in class and for the first time in 2.5 years she was sharing a table with a bunch of kids. They all sat and included her in everything they did. I was waiting for her messages from school yet there were hardly any. Mum's heart palpitates and at the end of the day I went to pick her up. She
|With the head of the school|
She has 4 days a week after school activity with art, dance and maths. She enjoys being there. The long hours from 7:30 to 4 seem to be just fine. She enjoys her school and is getting used to the slower pace. The teachers are observing her and feel she is smart and very focused. Her English assessment was done in class and she felt she is excellent with her concentration and has the best hearing in class!! Her listening skills are good as she knows she needs to concentrate a lot more than others. She loves studing and does her homework which is well spaced out.
She was informed in class that there would be speech competition and anyone could participate. She promptly informed me and wanted to do it. I was excited and her teachers were so thrilled. They hugged her and cheered. This just boosted her spirits! What more does a child want? The other day there were earthquakes and she was very nervous. The school was evacuated and being her first time and new school she was nervous and shivering. She informed me later that every teacher was asking her if she was ok and were very caring. As the school was left early and I wasn't aware and would have taken an hour to reach....the head of the school and his wife gave her company through out the hour. This shows the value for human emotions and fears and its all that we parents need.It made us feel secure as well. For her birthday I had baked Onion tarts and all her teachers were so happy and grateful. Their little extra praise and kind words made her feel happy and excited. Is it too much to ask? Is it so difficult? It just made our life so comfortable. Though its a lot of work for me to travel 1.5-2 hours each day to pick her up, seeing her less stressed and happier makes me want to do it. Its tiring but she is happy and makes me happy too. She has less stress, fewer pimples and fewer tummy aches. Life for now seems easier for her and we have to just wait and see how this chnage is, or else its going to be another journey to find a newer place which aids her growth. Few more years and this shall be all behind us. As of now....we are happy we are an NJIS family!