Nayan, 7, glows with an awesomeness that takes many forms: he is a gifted writer, an excellent poet, a little philosopher, a mystical mind reader, a prodigious scenarist, an amazing polyglot (14 languages) and a computer fiend. He is also autistic, which for him means speaking is beyond the bounds of possibility, learning is unpredictable, reading is hard, strangers can be confusing, and sitting still, overwhelming.
Interestingly, it was a laptop that changed Nayan’s life: it gave him an ability to communicate with the world and use his critical faculties to its full potential.
C.K. Shyam and S. Priyanka learned that their son falls in the autism spectrum when Nayan was just 18 months old. However, that just made them treat him all the more special. They made sure that Nayan’s special needs were adequately taken care of and he was regularly taken to a therapist.
Apparently, Priyanka started noticing her son’s extraordinary mind-reading skills after Nayan’s therapist Dr C.P. Aboobacker told her to keep an eye out for any special abilities the boy might possess.
“Individuals with autism do have a peculiar structural pattern of the brain cells, which is conducive to possessing unique intelligence. This would lead to display of abilities, which is often unbelievable to ordinary people," Dr Aboobacker told Onmanorama.
"When Nayan was brought to me, I told his parents this, just like I tell others. Nayan's mother was able to follow the signs and unearth her son's hidden talents," he said.
However, Nayan was tagged a 'slow learner' at the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) as he took several months to write a single letter. “It was then that they (NISH trainers) suggested us to give him a mobile phone or a laptop to communicate. He has been using the laptop since then,” said Priyanka.
With the help of the laptop, Priyanka first taught him simple words. As days went by, Nayan started typing profound things, often incomprehensible to his parents.
“I don't know how he learned those words. I don't even understand the words and phrases he uses… It's a mystery. When we asked him how he wrote such things, he simply typed, ‘bless of God!’" she said.
Nayan’s first poem, ‘Journey,' was published in an NISH publication on World Autism Day last year. It was just the start of his literary journey. He went on to write poems, stories and visions. Strangely enough, Nayan types something only when he is in ‘touch’ with his mom. So, Priyanka either keeps a hand on his palm or places her toes on his foot while he writes.
Two months ago, Nayan came out with his book titled ‘The Journey of My Soul,' which is a collection of his poems, stories and observations. Except for a note by writer George Onakkur, every word in the book, including the title, was penned by Nayan himself. The book was released by state education minister C. Raveendranath at a function in Thiruvananthapuram.
A first standard student of Government LP school, Attingal, Nayan’s favorite subject is philosophy. He aspires to pursue Ayurvedic medicine and aims to develop a cure for autism. According to Nayan, a combination of Ayurveda, yoga and music can help cure autism.
Nayan once referred to a book where the details of a medicine he needed could be found, with its page number. “The reference to the book, which he had never seen before, turned out to be accurate,” said Shyam.
Nayan’s ability to respond to questions in languages he has never known before is another of his exceptional talent. He can comprehend almost 14 languages now, including Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil and Arabic. Doctors have so far testified his ability by posing him questions in different languages. The wonder kid is also said to have a keen intuition, akin to a sixth sense.
That’s not all. Nayan has scripted a short film on the overuse of mobile phones in the new generation, ‘Silent in Mobile.'
He is also musically inclined and his favorite instrument is the drums. What makes Nayan’s abilities a mystery is the fact that he has neither read a book nor used the Internet to learn anything. “We don’t know how he gets the wisdom to write such things. It remains an enigma,” said the proud father.