SOCIAL SKILLS (Acceptance and Inclusion – 11 )

As conveyed in my last blog, Siddhanth was fortunate to form deep bondings with his school friends and shared lovely moments with them in all his school activities. A special mention has to be made of the trio of Karan, Somnath and Amit who bonded with him in the school bus. The emotional bonding with Karan was touched upon in the last blog.

The close friendship with Somnath started blooming in an unexpected way. Somnath had a bad fall in the third grade while playing in the school playground and injured himself. So the class teacher Vidya Ma’am paid him a visit that evening. In the course of her conversation with Somnath’s mother, the latter apprised her about the challenges she faced in teaching all subjects as she had done her schooling in a vernacular medium. This is when the class teacher suggested that perhaps she could send Somnath over to our home (which was within walking distance) for group study in areas where he faced challenges. This turned out to be a brilliant suggestion which worked both ways. Not only did Somnath gain in confidence in his studies, but Siddhanth also benefitted a great deal in all the organic socialization that happened owing to Somnath and his younger brother Yuvraj’s visits.

Soon this evolved into family friendship,with both the families mingling and interacting closely with each other. Somnath’s family would unfailingly invite Siddhanth to be a part of their Society’s Satyanarayan and Ganesh Pooja celebrations and Somnath’s mother Vaijayanti and I bonded over many interests apart from our children.

When Amit became old enough to ride a bicycle and come to our home,he would often join Siddhanth and Somnath for group study. His family moved on to Kanpur when he was in the ninth grade.Two years later, one evening as Siddhanth and I were returning from a trip to Pune, we had a pleasant surprise. Amit who was on a short visit to Mumbai, was waiting for us in the building compound. It was wonderful to witness the palpable joy of both the teenagers at the reunion. Again a few years later, Amit came to Mumbai to study a short term course in Safety Management. He was staying with his elder brother who was employed in Mumbai while their parents were still back in Kanpur. For about a fortnight, Amit used to drop in for dinner at our home when the cook in their home had proceeded on leave. There are happy memories of those evenings where the three of us would chat about everything under the sun. It was during those days that Amit started addressing me as ‘Amma’ which he does till date.

Now our family has relocated to Hyderabad from Mumbai. All the four young men are in different cities – Karan has moved on to the US. Digital technology has reduced the distance among them and they are still in touch. Somewhere,I read that childhood friends are those with whom it is very easy to pick up the threads when we meet again at different turns of life. I couldn’t agree more.

Author Jaya Sudhakar

Jaya Sudhakar has done her Masters in Physics and was employed as an Asst.Manager in a PSU. Her son’s diagnosis urged her to seek voluntary retirement from service. She is actively involved with Forum for Autism, Nayi Disha and The Spectrum Autism. Friends,tending to plants, reading, writing, music, movies, travelling and a little bit of spirituality are her perennial energy boosters.

Typing of story in Word and Creative graphics done by CreativeSaathi Siddhanth Palaparti, Jaya’s son

Siddhanth is a budding graphic designer, coder and music lover. He has graduated in computer applications and completed several certificate courses. His work trajectory includes internships, freelancing and voluntary work for social causes. He derives immense happiness from remembering birthdays and wishing everyone for it. Swimming, travelling and playing music on the keyboard are his other passions.

Leave a Reply