His mother died when he was very young and his father was an alcoholic who wanted to sell him and his brother to a circus. But his experiences never let him lose his zest for life and today, Sandip Bhuria, who is physically challenged, wants to spend the rest of his life helping others like him.
“Life is meant for living,” said Sandip, who is little over three feet tall. “My brother Vishal (who is also of the same height) and I both want to do our B.Ed and serve the physically and mentally challenged for the rest of our life. Specially-abled people can teach a lot to others.”
He holds no formal post at the hostel for children with special needs, run by the government-sponsored Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the Indore district, but 17-year-old Sandip looks after the 52 hostellers with ease.
“Sandip is our hostel director. All obey him because he is caring and affectionate,” said the hostel’s warden, Shubhdha Holkar. He draws monthly salary of Rs 1,000 from the Shri Yug Purush Dham Bauddhik Kendra, a residential school for specially-abled children, registered with the state women and child development department.
The two are also very fond of dancing. Though neither can walk without a stick, they keep their right leg steady and move their left leg and hands. “It comes with hours of practice,” Vishal said.
Two others at the hostel share the Bhuria brothers’ passion for working for the specially-abled. Shiva Anare, who studies in Class 5, was born without his left arm, but he writes and plays cricket and badminton with one finger protruding from his underdeveloped right arm. A native of Mhow tehsil, Shiva’s parents work as guards at different construction sites. “Whether I become a cricketer or a doctor, one thing is sure — I want to serve children like me,” the 11-year-old said. Amar Malakar, 14, who was born with underdeveloped legs, excels in Shirshasan and other yoga exercises which involve movement of upper body. A son of farmers, he wants to become a doctor and serve children like him.