June 7, 2016 6:43:10 am
Sixteen years ago, when Subhash Sutar and his wife were expecting their fourth child, one overriding concern consumed them, “Will the child be able to speak and hear?” The reason for their fear was that their previous three children, one boy and two girls, had been born impaired of hearing and speech. The fourth child, a boy, was normal, much to their relief.
Today, the Sutars feel their greatest moments of pride have come from their three challenged children, especially when their Board results have been declared. While his daughters Neha (23) and Manasi (18) always scored between 70 to 80 per cent in all their exams with Neha scoring 88 per cent in her SSC, their third challenged child Tejesh (21) joined the proud club of family achievers on Monday by scoring an impressive 84 per cent in his Class X board exams.
“Initially, we would curse our fate, but we now feel that our kids are at least blessed with academic intelligence, which so many parents yearn for,” says Sutar. “In fact, all my three challenged children are better in studies than the youngest, ‘normal one’, Omkar.”
With his meagre salary of Rs 8,000, Sutar, who works as a plumber for a hotel in the city, struggles hard to make ends meet. He says the option of looking for an expensive medical treatment for their children has never even been considered given his financial condition. “With my limited income, I showed them to different doctors and different hospitals in the city and may have spent around Rs 50,000, but the condition of none of the three improved. We never understood why it happened to us. It hurts when we see other children of others talking and expressing themselves normally,” says the father, adding that another thing that gives him some happiness is that though the children can’t speak, they can at least speak two words ‘Ma’ and ‘Pa’.
“Among themselves, the three converse in sign language, which I and my wife do not understand most of the times. What is good that they don’t consider themselves any less than the normal children. They are hardworking and study a lot. Now my focus is to give them good education so that they can have a good career and take care of themselves,” says the father, a resident of Prateek Nagar, Yerwada.
Owing to their condition, the children study at C R Ranganathan School for Deaf at Tingrenagar, where school fees is Rs 10,000 annually, a sum still huge enough to disturb the family’s monthly budget. Considering the family’s financial condition and the fact that it had three children with the same disability, the school waived off their fees.
“We knew it will be extremely difficult for the family and so took the decision of bearing their expenses,” said Vasant Rao Patole, the school’s chairman.
Since he has learned about his score, Tejesh, who indulges in painting in his free time, has been extremely happy, says the father. Delighted with the good news, his aunt, Sutar’s sister, has invited the entire family for dinner to her house. “It is his day today and we don’t want to pressure him by asking about his future plans. Besides, since we don’t understand the sign language, I plan to take him to his school principal and discuss his future with him,” Sutar says.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.