The name of the book we are referring to is “Sangharsh…… Sang Harsh”, written by author Seema Tiwari. In this she has described the life journey of her family. The focus of this book is on her elder daughter Nehal, who is under autism spectrum disorder.
Despite being under this condition, Nehal has completed her Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Prior to this, Nehal has passed Class X from ICSE Board and Class XII from CBSE Board. Now Nehal is working as an Associate Consultant in a big multinational company, as well as earning a name in the field of art through her stone painting. Her paintings have been displayed and sold in many exhibitions. Her paintings have been dispatched on order worldwide. She has also sent her stone paintings to Prime Minister of India Hon’ble Narendra Modi ji, Ratan Tata ji, Sanjeev Kapoor ji etc.
Now the question coming to your mind would be what is autism spectrum disorder? If explained in a very simple language, it means lack of language and communication, which adversely affects the social behavior and interaction. According to the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), one out of every 500 people in India is affected by autism, that is, according to them, about 22 lakh people in our country are under autism spectrum.
When Nehal was about 1 year old, her parents realized that she was different from the rest of the children. She was happy alone and if someone tried to talk to her, she would turn her head around. She didn’t show any attachment to her parents. When Nehal did not start speaking till 2 years of age, then her parents started visiting doctors. Finally, when they came to know about Nehal’s disorder, by then Nehal was two and a half years old. Her parents had absolutely no idea about autism; they felt as if some disaster had befallen upon them. With determination, they started reading books about autism, and then they realized that autism is not a disease that can be treated with medicine, it is a condition. If parents work with the child from an early age, it can be of great benefit to the child. Then they decided to work hard with her. They started many types of therapies, such as speech therapy, behavioral therapy, occupation therapy etc. At home too, they worked hard with Nehal every day as per the home program as directed by the therapist. Both the parents worked alternately with Nehal. They divided their responsibilities and started working with Nehal on the methods directed by different therapists. Nehal’s mother says that both the parents should work with the child by sharing their responsibilities. It should not happen that only one parent takes the responsibility because the results may come very slowly, resulting in fear of getting the parent discouraged. Even a child gets irritated when he or she is working with only one parent. A very important point here is that Nehal’s parents were in constant touch with other parents and therefor, all the parents helped each other in tackling their problems. The credit for bringing parents together goes to the Forum for Autism, a parent support group.
Nehal got admission in the school with great difficulty. She did not sit at one place, so for the first 3 years, an additional teacher was appointed with Nehal and with her help, Nehal learned to sit and study in school. The journey to school was not an easy one. Initially, the children used to run behind her and she had a few friends, but as she grew up, she became very lonely in the school. She wanted to make friends but she had no idea how to do it. Many children used to tease her, then the school teachers educated about autism to the children and explained why Nehal is different from them. Then the children started behaving in a better way.
She had great love for painting. Since childhood, she used to make paintings with water colors and oil pastels. During a workshop in college, she painted on the stones found on the banks of the river. It was awesome. From that day onwards her brushes did not leave the stones. Each of her stone paintings was as lively as if it is talking. The main thing is that each of her characters look happy, which reflects the truth and happiness of her heart. She talks to the whole world through her stone paintings. Waterfalls, mountains, Ganapati, Lord Krishna, Santa Claus, mother, children, the flag of India, all have found a place on her stones.
Nehal had a lot of fun putting together the different pieces of the jig saw puzzle. Little did her parents realize that God had made a special jig saw puzzle of life for them too. So many good people helped them step by step in connecting different pieces of that puzzle. People kept joining and the caravan moved on. With firm faith and belief in God they kept moving forward with their hard work. There are always ups and downs in life. Sometimes the efforts result in success and sometimes not. But every incident either gives happiness or else gives a lesson. They always thought well and kept a positive attitude and kept moving forward.
Nehal’s younger sister’s name is Vaidicka. With her arrival the family became stronger. After her arrival, many changes took place in Nehal. The speed of moving on the path of progress increased. It is said in English “God closes a door, but opens a window” but for them, whenever the window closed, God opened the door. They have come to believe that miracles do happen and definitely happen, but one has to work hard for them too. The most important thing to note is that “Autism is not a disease, but a condition”. It is not a disease that can be cured by sages, witchcraft, doctors etc. Many countries are pouring money like anything in research on autism, but till now the reason for its occurrence has not been properly ascertained.
This book written by writer Seema Tiwari is available on leading online platform. The author wrote this book because today in our country there is not much material available to read in Hindi language on autism. Whatever is available on the Internet in English too, all the material has been written according to the situation in the western countries. This book also sheds light on the myths about autism. The book narrates the journey that has resulted in Nehal’s progress, with the entire family supporting her. This book instills hope and faith that even in difficulties and there can be a way out. People just need to change their thinking. The language used by the author is very simple and every member of the family can read and understand it very easily. The author wants to convey that the efforts are put in sincerely and the parents keep working without giving up, then the result can be seen.
There will be achievements in this process for moving forward and the journey will continue. New challenges will also bring new opportunities. But to move forward is the rule of life…… and this journey continues endlessly and continuously. (Impact Feature By Seema Tiwari)