Sanskriti Aggarwal, a 13-year-old girl who was given a certificate and award for exceptional achievement by the governor on the Independence Day in the field of art and culture, believes in the line from a famous poem, "Dance like no one's watching".
A Class 9 student of Saupin's School, Sector 32, Chandigarh, Sanskriti is no ordinary girl. She is a special girl with special dreams. Suffering from down syndrome, a condition where a child becomes a slow learner and has poor vision, squint in the eyes, low muscle tone, flatfeet and an unbalanced body frame, Sanskriti has not let her disability come in the way of her resolve.
Pursuing kathak for more than two years now, she wants to make it big. "I like dancing, but I want to become a doctor and be of help to others," said Sanskriti with a little difficulty, but her million-dollar smile said it all.
Her mother, Vibha, has left her job to devote time to her. "Her condition is incurable. The least we can do is to comfort her in every possible way by giving her all the love, affection, care and encouragement."
Sanskriti has been dancing since the age of seven and has won numerous awards and accolades. She also knows how to perform basic salsa and tarana, a dance on Bollywood music.
"She goes into a kind of trance when she dances. She is so involved, so intense. When she's dancing, it seems as if all her problems have vanished into thin air," said Aarti Malhotra, Sanskriti's English teacher. "Sanskriti is not a regular student, but whenever she comes to school and attends my class, she is very well-behaved. A reserved child, she quietly takes out her colouring book and starts drawing or painting," said Malhotra.
"The main concern of the school is to ensure that she does not feel left out. Like all other students, we involve her in school activities. Such children can do just as well as others if given that extra care and encouragement," said June Saupin, director of the school.
Sanskriti has participated in several reality dance shows at the national level, like Dance India Dance and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom.
"Her school had given her the first opportunity to perform on the stage, and since then there has been no looking back for her," said Vibha.