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A quiet, colourful life

Sandeep Tatiya may be hearing-impaired, but he has always been fiercely independent and eager to make it on his own.

india Updated: Jul 24, 2007 17:11 IST
Sai Raje
Sai Raje
Hindustan Times

He comes across as just another youngster in his late twenties, eager to make a mark with his work and carve a good life for himself and his family.

But what sets Sandeep Tatiya apart from the rest is that he has never considered his hearing impairment a stumbling block on his way to achieving what he wants from life.

In fact, it wouldn't be wrong to say that Tatiya has used his impairment to his advantage by choosing to be an artist. When he paints in his quiet, solitude-filled world, it hardly matters whether he can hear or not.

"My son is hearing impaired since birth. So we chose a special school for him by age three," says his mother Vijaya.

<b1>"But he was very bright and quickly grasped concepts in spite of his handicap, so I helped him get admitted into a normal school by the age of seven," adds Vijaya Khadkikar, principal of the Jhaveri Thanawala School for the Deaf.

In the special school, Tatiya had been used to learning most things by lip-reading even though he still couldn't utter the correct syllables.

So it took some time for Tatiya, of course, to get used to a normal school. For one, he couldn't hear anything that his teachers said in class.

And he solely depended on what was written on the blackboard to learn what he could. But by then he had developed a strong liking for painting and would be content for hours on end practising his art.

And it became his own private world that he loved to escape into.

"I like painting in the night, when there aren't too many people around me and I am alone. I can't paint during the day," Sandeep conveys, with a few words and signs.

So getting a degree in Fine Arts was the next obvious step, and since he completed his formal education in Art in 2000, he has been successfully running a ‘renta-painting' library of his own works.

He has about 275 of his own paintings, ranging from portraits, natural landscapes to modern art, which he rents out to about 250 clients every month.

From carrying all his paintings to each client, getting them to select a new one each month and maintaining records, Tatiya does it all on his own.

"I volunteered to help him out first but he prefers doing it all by himself, including getting all the painting material that he requires, at a good bargain. He used to depend on a person earlier to help him travel with his material, as the hearing-impaired cannot get a driving license. But he now rides the battery powered Yo Bike, that doesn't require him to have a driving license," says Prakash Tatiya, Sandeep's father.

What's more, he even takes drawing lessons for other hearing-impaired children from his old school and enjoys the time he spends with them. For Sandeep Tatiya, life couldn't be more colourful.

First Published: Jul 24, 2007 15:51 IST