15 June, 2021

Light Went Out Of Their Lives At Birth. But They Saw It Otherwise.

Light Went Out Of Their Lives At Birth. But They Saw It Otherwise.
The quiet and vast emptiness that grips this school is overpowering. The building is just a speck against the massive Sahyadri range in Shimoga. Blending into the calm is Mushtaq Ahmed's piping voice as he repeats his lines, "symbol of peace," for the annual day fete scheduled later in the evening, his pal Shivaraj joining in when it was his turn to rehearse the song.

But the way the duo wandered around the campus, hopping over flower-beds and darting around shrubs, belied the cruel fact that they were visually impaired. Like these two seven-year-olds are 70 other children like Nandini, Mohan and Shivalinga, who despite the handicap, carry on studiously at Sharada Devi Andhara Vikasa Kendra on the outskirts of Karnataka's Shimoga town.

The 'lead kindly light' for them and the dozen who passed class X from the school are three sisters - Ambika, Anitha and Asha. Sightless since birth, the sisters have mastered the ability to manage the vagaries of life. They are reticent about their accomplishment and how they supported this school during its fledgling...

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