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Tanisha

 

As I jogged home on an early Saturday morning, I paused to rest on a boulder just a stone away from the lonely, meandering boulevard. The air was fresh and clean, and the borders of the road were lined with uneven heights of flowers and trees. The sight was beautiful. I began to wonder how my house would look with ikebana of such flowers. Then, as my memory would hold, the ethereal Gladiolus in front of me reminded me of that little 8-year-old Tanisha who taught me the powerful profundity of sign language as a way of expressing your emotions when words incapacitate.

I met her on my first charity round. It was an orphanage where insensitive parents or reluctant mothers left their little treasures for others to preserve. Tanisha was one of them. While most children ran about frisky, Tanisha caught my attention. Quiet as the still of the night, she sat on the crumpled bed sheet gazing at each one in the room. I asked her her name, but she simply smiled. A warden informed me that she is deaf and dumb and her feet are crippled. I saw that heart-tugging innocent child and found myself asking randomly, "how on earth could a child be made to suffer such a devious consequence?" I stretched my arms towards her and willingly, she let me embrace her. There were plenty of other kids yearning attention, many were found playing with other fellow volunteers, but for Tanisha, there was none. I was also told that many have tried to be with her but not for long because, you ! see, she was incapable of communicating with anyone.

I wheeled her out. We took seat at the West Gate. We watched the boisterous scenario and cheered our own selected players. The in-house dog wriggled up to her and kissed her feet. She giggled and strutted, and both of us fell. We laughed. The dog continued to be mischievous. Then, I lifted the dog and she gently patted him on the head.

 

Our luncheon was like a whiff of breeze, silent and quick. I observed, half she ate and the other half she shared it with the dog. I plucked morsels and gave it to her. She refused and asked me to finish it.

During our interaction, I learnt she had a penchant for drawing and aspired to be an illustrious artist someday. I watched her maneuver her pencil artistically till she was complacent with the sketch of her favourite flower - Gladiolus. It was an impeccable replica. Using signs, I imparted that Gladiolus signified character of strength and like this flower, she should nurture the inner strength to achieve. She told me she liked the flower.

I told her to keep it instead of giving it to me, but she pushed it back at me. Extemporizely, she pointed a finger at her, crossed her arms to her chest, and pointed back at me. Steadily, I fathomed she used her ability to her best and out of love, she gave it to me.

Anyway, she began to feel uncomfy in the wheelchair. I motioned if she wanted to sit by my side. She nodded; however, as I reached out to lift her up, she stopped me. She struggled out of the chair by herself, crawled up, and sat on my lap. Then, I began a session of rhymes and stories. I hummed all the nursery rhymes I could recall and narrated stories like dumb charades. She mimicked and bubbled with laughter. I do not know how much we comprehended each other, but we had a good time together. The incandescent sun began to fade in the faraway horizon. She became serious. I was perplexed. People were preparing to return home. She probably saw this too often and understood it was my time to depart too. She looked at me, smiled, and moved back to her chair. Unctioned by the gesture, using sign language to the best of my ability, I told her that I was in no hurry to bid her adieu. The quizzical look on her face subsided when I explained it with my fingers pointing at me, crossing both my arms to the chest, and pointing it back at her. A smiled gleamed from the corner of her mouth. I held her close and began to stroll beneath the early moon above us. 

Contributing Writer: May Young - Hi. I'm working in the healthcare sector in quality assurance. I'm in Bangalore. I have keen interest in reading, writing, photography, trekking, and music. I believe that all of us have talent, which, when used, can make a difference in the world, or at least, in someone's life. The choice is ours. My writings are usually from personal experiences. melodyyoung@lycos.com  


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