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The Gran View: Her smile said, ‘Mama, I will stand, walk and dance one day!’

The doctors in India declared 40 years ago that she was born spastic with cerebral palsy and nothing much could be done. My husband and I refused to give up.


Updated: October 8, 2018 3:48:01 pm
A story of hope: Shayama and Tamana Chona

Tamana was born spastic with cerebral palsy and the doctors gave up hope. But, her smile kept Shayama Chona going to make her dream for her daughter a reality. (Read the second part here.)

By Shayama Chona

Life has amazing lessons to teach. What is going to happen next is totally unpredictable. Here I was, a happily married professional with a bubbly three-year-old son, looking forward to a second child. Hoping against hope that it should be a girl, we had decided that we shall call her Winisha—“Win” from Winnie, my husband and “Sha” from Shayama.

All these plans suddenly came to a halt when the doctor informed that it had been a long and harsh delivery as the head of the baby had been pressed. No wonder the baby in my arms was so different from my first child Vikram. I found her arms and legs saggy, her head was thrust sideways, her eyes were strange, though crying for milk but she could not be fed.

As days rolled by, my fear and worry was shared with the family and our concerns had become mammoth by leaps and bounds. Some blamed me for overreacting but my heart kept telling me that something was wrong. I rushed to PGI in Chandigarh where she was born and they referred me to Vellore, where began an arduous journey from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, New Delhi to Mumbai, Mumbai to New Delhi.

Winisha became Tamana; a prayer for hope, the beautiful child. The doctors in India declared 40 years ago that she was born spastic with cerebral palsy and nothing much could be done. My husband and I refused to give up. Life had suddenly come to a halt with a crying change. The motherly instinct overtook the wife and professional and embarked on a journey of hope. And do you know who joined me on this journey? The smile of my child Tamana. That smile spoke to me, saying, “Mamma don’t cry, I will make it one day. I will hold my head straight, I will roll, I will sit, I will stand, I will walk, I will dance, I will study. I want to be like you and together we will do it.”

So began a journey with a determination to go forward smiling. I imagined there is a little goddess in my arms or on my shoulder or in my lap, innocently but mischievously testing my patience and endurance.

My mantra, “I will not give up”, constantly reverberated in my mind. This prayer was conveyed by the little goddess with me to the cosmic powers and the miracle began. The glimmer of light starts peeping, followed by bright rays as if all the five elements had come together to make Tamana what she is today. No doubt rehabilitation in London, therapeutic intervention in the US were well worth the time, effort and resources.

Her promising smile actually became a reality and, one fine day, she sat up and there was no stopping after that. I had a cause to live and to fulfill.

(To be continued in the next column)

(This is a fortnightly column by Dr Shayama Chona, who is a Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awardee, an educationist, social activist and former Principal, DPS RK Puram. )

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