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BLOG - ER Ramachandran

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The caged bird breaks away......

(A true story , this appeared recently in the Eveninger Mysore Mail and Blog Churumuri.Would like to share with Mysore Blog park Readers....)


Little Champa (Name Changed) was still sleepy when her mother Shashi woke her up at 4.30 in the morning. ‘Get up. We have a train to catch’. Shahsi quickly realised her two year old daughter couldn’t have heard any thing as she was born with congenital hard of hearing. As the Thanjavur Express left Bangalore for Mysore, Shashi fed Champa milk and made her sleep. They were on the way to their teacher for her lessons. At Srirangapatna, she woke Champa and asked her to repeat what the teacher had taught the previous day,. ‘Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa’, ‘Eeeeeeeee’, ‘Ooooooooo.’ Since the receiver of hearing aid had come off from the child’s ears, she didn’t respond. After Sridhar, her father put it back in her ears, she started repeating… ‘Aaaaaaa’ ‘Eeeeee’ ‘Ooooo’. The home work was done on train.

When Champa didn’t respond to any sound soon after her birth, Sridhar and Shruthi’s worst fears turned true. Their daughter was born deaf and dumb. Repeated visits to temples did not help. Finally somebody suggested a teacher, who was teaching hearing impaired children from the age of 18 months. With a hearing aid and two receivers, Champa learnt to listen to everyday sound which is normally taken for granted. The vowel sounds on the train was the first reproduction of sounds for Champa.

Since the teacher moved over to Mysore from Bangalore, they were taking Champa daily to Mysore and come back by the evening train. To and Fro visits to Mysore 5 days in a week became hectic for them and little Champa too. The family decided to move to Mysore close to the teacher’s house. Shruthi’s mother came to stay with her. Sridhar would come on Saturday to take them to Bangalore.

Babbling to simple words; recognition of objects; picking an object after listening, Matching the object with the sketch after naming the object. Champa was put on a drill by the teacher. Every syllable, word had to be vocalized.

Much, much later the alphabets in Kannada were started. Kannada alphabets for Champa whose parents spoke Tamil! And counting - One, Two, and Three… up to Hundred, each had to be pronounced loudly and then only written. Champa graduated from counting on fingers to writing on slate and finally on paper with pencil.

‘Stay Ahead’ was the Mantra of the teacher. We have to make her stay ahead of others. ‘Acceptance and recognition for physically challenged will only come from sheer merit. Especially when they score over in competition with normal people’ was the teacher’s philosophy.

Time flew as little Champa learnt basic Maths, sentences in Kannada and could talk haltingly. Still, fluent speech was a problem.

When Sridhar and Shruthi visited various schools for admission in Bangalore, one look at the child wearing hearing aid with cord dangling from her ears was enough for rejection.

Finally one school agreed to give her an opportunity. ‘Only six months’ told the Head Mistress, ‘ If we find her lagging behind we will terminate any time’.

School with new clothes, shining bag, Tiffin carrier and water bottle instead of bringing joy was hell for Champa. Bullies at that age, ripped off her hearing aid, put mud on it and threw it away. The child couldn’t learn much from her unhelpful teacher. Their class teacher often openly told ‘I will recommend you to a deaf and Dumb school.’

Sridha and shruthi were at their wits end. Have their efforts failed? Has it all come to nothing?

Then the school had the first semester exams in Kannada and Maths.

The class teacher returned the corrected papers to all students. Champa did not get anything. Instead she was asked to bring her parents next day to meet the Head Mistress.

With palpitating hearts, fearing the worst, they ran to school.

The Head Mistress asked them to wait as she finished her other chores. Then she took them to Champa’s class. It was Parents-teachers’ meeting that day.

The head Mistress lifted Champa on her shoulders and announced that Champa had stood first in the class, in both Maths and Kannada.

She proudly announced that this was the first time they had decided to admit a hearing challenged child and she had stood first in the class. The school will continue with this policy every year. The parents assembled, gave a standing ovation to Champa and her parents. Quite a few children came and stood around champa, clapping.

There was an unfinished task to be completed. Later, the parents, controlling the tears talked to Champa’s teacher in Mysore over phone. Their combined efforts and faith had made the impossible, possible.

Photograph of Bird , from Flickr -Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Firefox


  • Touching post, ERR. Could do with a follow-up, by way a post on the teacher and his photo. His contact details would help others.

    By Blogger GVK, at 11:31 PM  

  • Touching.. brought tears to my eyes....

    Hats off to Champa, her parents and that special teacher.. nd also to the only school who gave her a chance...

    By Blogger Happy Kitten, at 1:47 AM  

  • Thanks for sharing this...
    May she continue to outshine others like this forever.

    The contact details of the teacher in Srirangapatna will be helpful to others too.

    By Blogger Indrani, at 4:30 AM  

  • What a moving story. And all the more so for being a true one. That teacher in Mysore is the true teacher; the other one is what a guru should not be.
    The parents did their all they could for their little girl and the headmistress is to be admired, but best of all is that little child, who survived all the bullying and painful actions of other children and tenaciously proved herself.

    By Blogger RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN, at 4:33 AM  

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