Evening of March 9th. I was watching my pet grand daughter's bharatnatyam arangettam. I was in praying mood. I am not able to see the crowd. I was feeling a bit of tension. 19 years of our hard work and prayers are getting fulfilled. It was a challenge. As the program progressed, I thanked god... she is doing well. I kept hearing big applause from the audience. My little grand daughter, special grand daughter, smiling.. in the middle of all people who gatherd on the stage to congratulate and complement her. For most of the people gathered, it was unbelievable. They never expected her to perform the way she did. It was a proud moment for me, as a grand mother.
It is the result of our patience and love. She is a special child. Only when she was 2 years old, we realized that she has problem and is intellectually challenged, and it was a shock for us. Her milestones got delayed. I felt my children's pain. It's life and we have to face it. We considered her as a gift to us. With prayers, therapies, and homeopathic medicines, she started improving. Bit by bit she started speaking. Began walking when she was four.
She started going to special schools. Special educators came home and started teaching her. She is weak in academics. If not academics, we thought of trying some art for her. We found that she likes music, but because of speech problem she couldn't get into it. Then we tried keyboard.. it didn't work out. The dance teachers we approached were not willing to teach her.
About 6 year back, we found a bharatnatyam teacher. His ability to teach special children started working on pratibha. She took about three months to get up and start steps, and get involve. Once we realized that she can dance, we took her to kerala, where my daughter has a dance class. The students there became her friends. Seeing them, and trying dance with them, she started understanding better and started to learn better. She started performing on stages for 5 to 10 minutes. She participated in some competitions for special children in mumbai. She started realizing that she too can dance on stage and started enjoying dancing.
We decided to arrange an arangettam for her, decided a date 9th march 2008, and we stated preparations many months in advance. Her hard work, sincere efforts by both her gurus, her ambitions, her parent's expectations, her brother's encouragement, grand parent's blessings, support from all my children, and encouragement from my other grand children... made the day. All of us were very happy to see her dance so well.
My beautiful little pratibha in the traditional bharatnatyam costumes and ornaments was dancing like an angel on stage. My mind's camera clicked it full. I can see it again and again. The hall was almost full with invited friends and relatives. Most of them came with a curiosity to see what a special child can do. But her footwork, abhinaya (expressions), mudras, and graceful movements were outstanding for a special child. All gathered around her and cheered her at the end of the program.
She proved that "she can also do something". That was our aim. She did six items, which took about 70 minutes of dancing with some intervals in between for costume change and rest. Every now and then it comes to my mind. I hope in coming days, she can move forward step by step in this art form and do better. This is my prayer to almighty.