“I’m a blessing,” says Dhanya Ravi, her face breaking into a smile. The smile creases the corners of her eyes as they emit a positive energy which under normal circumstances could reflect only pain.
Physical pain is the only reality 25-year-old Dhanya has known right from her infancy. Though wheelchair-bound by a debilitating bone disease, this has not clouded her pursuit of living life to the fullest.
“I’ve been surrounded by love. God has given me so many loving souls... so many opportunities.”
Kuppathil Ravi and wife Nirmala, natives of Palakkad, took off to Bangalore years ago to start their life. Their joy knew no bounds when a daughter was born to them and life revolved around their little bundle of joy. Everything was going well for the couple till the baby was 55 days old.
The infant’s non-stop crying was reason enough to rush her to the doctor, who told the parents that the baby was suffering from the crippling brittle bone disease. Osteogenesis Imperfecta, as the disease is known was not even commonly heard of then.
The implications of the serious ailment started dawning slowly and painfully on the parents too, for even a loud noise could cause a crunching effect on the baby’s bones.
Once the parents realized that even a hard pat could break her bones, they began caring for her as they would a precious piece of porcelain.
Dhanya is no more a child now. At 25, though quite a young lady, she’s still mama’s little baby. That’s how her mother has been caring for her all these years, she says. The home is such a source of support. Her brother Suresh, an engineer, saw to it that his sister was well equipped with a wheelchair which allowed her a lot of free movement.
Young Dhanya is thankful to all those wonderful people who have come as a blessing in her life. She remembers that one such blessing was Victoria, a neighbor, and mother to four little girls. Victoria, despite her hectic schedule and struggle raising four small children, found time for Dhanya, to help her with her first lessons. It was Victoria who opened up a world of learning before the differently-abled child.
“I was like her child, one more added to her four. She would come over to our home daily to teach me. Till I finished my high school Victoria aunty was my guru. From then on, it was Google guru! The Internet threw open for me a world of knowledge and opportunities to make a whole lot of friends. I’ve just completed my plus-two under Indira Gandhi National Open University.
Music, her lifeline
“Music is my lifeline … as vital to my existence as my medicines.”
Yesudas uncle’s songs infuse a lot of positivity, she says. Life used to be an excruciatingly painful one till her teens when even a loud sound could crush her bones. She’s a lot better now. Music has sustained her. Not only has it helped her to relax and relieve her of boredom, but it has also been a source of sustenance to her. Her insight into music has turned her into a content writer for a music website, which fetches her an income. She’s an avid blogger too.
“I once happened to read an article about a baby called Dinu Devassya, my replica. That, apparently, was the turning point in my life. The article was written by a lady called Latha Nair who was very much into the welfare and care of children suffering from the brittle bone disease. Today, she’s everything to me … my Latha aunty. I sent her an email. She came to know a lot of children suffering from the disease, from me as well as from several other sources. That’s how the Amrithavarshini Charitable Trust was formed under the initiative of Latha aunty. I too am a part of the trust. What began as a community with a bunch of 25 bright, but disabled kids is an 85-strong force to reckon with today. The trust looks into their welfare and helps in educating them too.”
Dhanya got her power-wheelchair from the Trust. Amritavarshini gives talented kids an exposure to reality shows in a bid to draw them out.
“I’m too busy now. Music, blogging, reading, content writing and delivering motivational talks give me hardly time for myself’, says the bright young girl.
She is all for mooting the concept for wheelchair-friendly school.
“There’s nothing in this world that does not hold some wonder for me. Everybody is talented in one way or the other. Success lies in getting out of your comfort zone. In a world where there are so many brave women … women who have overcome a lot, one should also be a meaningful part of that beautiful existence,” says Dhanya.
The smile is still on. So is the benevolence.