I have been accused of obsessing over him – orchestrating his life events and engineering his happiness. I have been ridiculed for banking on him and not having another child. But how many people know that I actually never existed before he came into my life? The past without him is a vivid picture of nothingness. Paradoxical as it may seem, I took birth even as I gave birth to him.
I gave him birth, taught him his first words but very soon he gave birth to a ‘new me’ and taught to me how to live. Soon after he came into my life, he was the doll I never had. I played with him all the time, sang endlessly to him, gave him a new name everyday not realising that very soon I was destined to taste the other side of life. Vikram, was diagnosed with autism and I swung from a blissful state to a comatosed-with-pain state all within days.
I cried everyday after that. I fought bitterly with my family; I doubted God’s benevolence and divorced myself from sanity. That’s how Vikram lead me into the reality of life.
I started seeing the harsh realities of life, deepest hurts, highest elation and greatest bliss. The shadruchulu (the six tastes that complete your life) bitterness of being rejected, sweetness of being blessed, sourness of bad experiences, saltiness of my tears, spice of varied experiences only a mother like me can have …
Vikram’s condition alienated me from family, friends, my profession and my passions. In alienation, I learnt the difference between shallowness and depth. He taught me the deepest meaning of life – through his smile after a massive epileptic seizure , through his cheer despite searing pain of bleeding full body eczema, through happy songs escaping from angry red mouth ulcers and by standing tall not withstanding his osteoporosis.
Silly me, when Vikram was diagnosed with autism, I announced to the world that I will carry him in my pouch and accomplish what I want to. But today, he is the one who carries me everywhere – bliss and beyond. Sure the umbilical cord has been cut but a cord that extends from him and supplies my very next breath is actually at play now … therefore I live. When people ask me about his university degree, I say that his qualifications are his increasing degrees of forbearance and resilience. He is but a saint who achieved all that there is to achieve – remaining cheerful and dignified.
Everybody asks me what happens to Vikram after me and I stop myself from retorting, “Does anything happen to God after you die”? But I won’t and you know why? Vikram would not want me to .. my Guru, my God …
– Karuna Gopal, President Foundation for Futuristic Cities