How this Kannur boy defeated cerebral palsy with poetry, music

Advaith with his father Pavithran. Photo: Dhanesh Ashokan

Born with cerebral palsy, Advaith was deprived of the many pleasures of childhood. But the youngster has adopted his own way to deal with the situation - by writing poems.

In one poem, Advaith says that he has not been able to join others of his age in playing in the open areas, drenching in the rain, splashing mud, enjoying the banks of the canal near his house, angling, chasing dragonflies, picking ‘thumba’ flowers, building castles on sand or playing hide-and-seek.

Now he has penned another poem in which he comments that he has grown a slight moustache and that his childhood has vanished.

Advaith is sometimes sad that he could not enjoy playing with friends and that he would not be able to offer support for his parents in their old age. When such thoughts rush to his mind, Advaith finds the spark of creativity and writes poetry.

His first poem was about his school that was written when he was in Class 5. Now Advaith has completed his Class 8 at Kadachira Higher Secondary School in Kannur and has numerous poems to his credit. Sometimes, the disease makes him unable to control his hand properly and he finds it difficult to write. On such occasions, Advaith seeks his mother’s help to pen the poems.

Reading and music

Pavithran and Santhini of Sivaganga, Kannadichal in Kadachira had waited seven long years after their wedding for a child. But Advaith was born a premature baby at the seven-and-a-half months of pregnancy and was plagued with several ailments since birth. The couple tried several treatments in modern medicine as well as Ayurveda and finally when the child began to stand erect and walk with the help of parents, admitted Advaith to a school. Life became enjoyable for the child when teachers and classmates too offered all support to him.

Now, every week, Advaith visits the Gramodaya Library near his house. He spends some time going through various publications and comes home with books to read. During holidays, the boy learns classical music and has performed at Chembai music festival in Guruvayur. He has participated in contests for poetry writing, recitation, folk song, film song and quiz, winning several prizes. On each occasion, Advaith’s confidence receives a boost for overcoming his disability.

By now, the youngster’s notebook is filled with over hundreds of poems, some of which have been posted on the YouTube channel ‘Santhini’.

Advaith’s dreams

Santhini and Pavithran were never willing to leave their son to fate. Santhini is an office assistant at Kadachira primary health centre and as there was nobody at home to look after Advaith when she went to work, Pavithran quit his job at a bakery in Ernakulam and came to their native place.

Pavithran now accompanies his son everywhere. As he did not want Advaith to be confined to the wheel-chair, Pavithran ensures that he boards the school bus every day. In the bus and at school, other students and teachers assist Advaith. Parents also join the youngster during every outing and on these occasions, Advaith learns more about the world.

Ask him about his dream and Advaith would reply, “I want to be a teacher.” He quickly adds, like a mature adult, “A teacher’s task is not only moulding students but it is also a service to the country.”