When Mathai, a patient who attended the music therapy programme, at Tripunithura Taluk Hospital, crooned to the evergreen Malayalam melody ‘Madurikkum Ormakale...’, the whole auditorium erupted in joy. The singers from Musicians Coordination of Kerala (Musick) who organised the programme, too joined the crowd and handed over the microphone to Mathai. For, it was his first sentence in almost two decades.
Mathai, who suffered a stroke almost 19 years ago, was suffering from speech impairment ever since. All efforts to treat him, including ayurvedic treatment, were in vain. “Though he could walk without help, he couldn’t talk but for a few incomprehensible words. So, it is a miracle that he got back his speech after two decades,” says Lily, his wife.
Says Anand, a member of Musick: “We have been organising music programmes at the Tripunithura Taluk Hospital every month for the last few months. During the programme held last week, we saw Mathai murmuring something when the song was rendered. Seeing his enthusiasm we encouraged him to sing which he did spontaneously. Only then did we come to know that he was finding it difficult to speak for almost 19 years,” says Anand.
Meanwhile, Mathai’s wife Lily says her husband told her that he was ‘emotionally awakened’ by the song. “He said he was totally moved by the music. He is overjoyed to have regained his ability to speak,” says Lily.
Lily adds they never expected him to regain his speech because they had tried various kinds of treatment. “I was not there when this happened. When I returned, the whole hospital was talking about it. Now, we are swarmed by visitors. His sisters were all tears when they saw him speaking again. But, we still have to continue with the ayurveda treatment,” says Lily.
However, all the emotional upheaval seems to have affected his heart. Lily says Mathai suffered a heartache the following day. “Doctors say the excitement has taken a toll on his his heart,” says Lily.