There was a myriad of emotions on display at the event organised by the Special School for Children with Autism, Celebral Palsy and Mental Retardation (SOREM) to commemorate 25 years of hard work put in by school principal Promila Chandra Mohan. Nervousness, excitement, happiness, and above all, a deep sense of camaraderie between the differently abled students in the age group of one to 40 years could be sensed by all.
What these students, afflicted with medical conditions ranging from epilepsy to autism, put up left the audience, consisting primarily of their families, stunned. The smiles on everyone’s faces, which seldom left during the two-hour show conveyed their joy, while the tears told the story of the struggle and dedication put in by the teachers and families. Even UT adviser Vijay Dev, who was the chief guest, kept cheering for the children and shaking his head in amazement.
The show had it all -- songs, classical Kathak performance, skit, fancy dress show and bhangra. A documentary film, showcasing the journey of the principal, was also screened. The audience were even taken on a tour of the nation with students dressed in different costumes, dancing to the traditional tunes from each state. Sure they forgot the steps, some were even taken aback by the lights, but they never faltered and did not stop. The event ended with a giddha performance by the instructors , and children too joined in, giving the audience a glimpse into the world of SOREM.
The steely determination of Chandra Mohan, still young at 84 years, was visible as she scuttled around the theatre, making sure that everything was just right. It’s the way she has been in her long career, which she has dedicated to improving the lives of special children. Her heart still does not wish to slow down, but “My legs seem to be giving up now!” she says, as kids and their parents surround her at the end of the event. “I quit everything because I knew working for special children was my calling. Every moment since then has been inspiring,” she says.
“Being an audience at this event has been such a humbling experience. These children aren’t disabled at all, simply differently abled,” said the UT adviser in his concluding speech. As hugs were exchanged, compliments were given and tears were wiped off at the end of the show, the two-and-a-half month of unending practice and rehearsals seemed worth it.