Dreams are funny. Some only come when you’re asleep and some don’t let you sleep. Some are so abstract that it’s hard to explain them logically to others. Hey, don’t go yet! I am making these statements because I want to tell you a story and I promise when you reach till the end you’ll be glad you read it.
As is the natural course of life, adolescents turn into adults and when adolescents in our deafblind programmes turn into adults, alongside other training, we start searching for ways to make them independent by introducing them to income generation activities. A year ago, in one such training a young man with his father was attending a workshop to figure out what he can do to earn his livelihood. All the people accompanying the young adults were supposed to be interpreting what’s going on in the session. Among frantic signing of hands and flurry of activity, one father – son duo was silently sitting in a corner with no movement whatsoever! Since the young fellow can’t hear or see, he is lost in his own world. The father on the other hand had a grim expression on his face.
The trainer asked the father the reason why he is not helping his son interact. The father replied rather harshly, “He knows nothing. He barely responds to us. What will he be able to do! So it doesn’t matter if it’s told to him or not”. The trainer was baffled at the reply! Then started an argument that soon got heated up.
But the trainer, not being the one to be bogged down started thinking how to make the father understand that deafblind people also communicate when given the right medium. So they started an activity where they asked the young adults to explain their dreams. And this young man was given a paper and pen as he uses pictures to communicate. And what happened next has become a part of history! Check out the picture below.
I know some of you are smiling at it. The trainer did too. Then he asked the young man, “Explain this please”. The young man pointed to the boy in the picture and signed “John” (that’s him!) and then his finger went to the other image and he signed “my wife”. Then he showed the picture below and signed “coffee selling”. Everyone watching this was stepping into a moment of realization and wonder and this was an incident to be retold many times later.
What happened to the father? Well he burst into tears. Partly joy that his son was able to understand and communicate something that many of us miss the mark sometimes – FEELINGS! He wanted to get married, have a family. And not just that he also knew that he wanted to sell coffee. Partly I feel that he had no clue how to fulfill his son’s dream.
Fast forward the story to 2nd September 2015, a year later. In Tamil Nadu, a house is being decorated and you can hear laughter ringing in the house. Its John’s wedding! He has found a girl, Kasturi (a pretty name isn't it?) who now holds his hand as his mate. Oh and did I tell you that John has a coffee vending machine at one of our centres for deafblind children?
A dream that was once seen with open eyes has come true. And with it has come a few lessons. Never assume that deafblind people can’t express or lack feelings. Never assume they don’t have plans and visions for their life. They do and they can, given the right support and encouragement.
Now that John’s journey of a married life has started, it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. But I shall leave that for another time. For now let’s wish John and Kasturi a Blessed and happy married life ahead!
Would you also like to congratulate John? We will convey your messages to him. Since John communicates through pictures , please send a picture congratulating him in the comments section below or our Facebook page and we will pass on the message to him.
(Written by Sheryl)