Differences are to be celebrated - My Take by Vanessa Ohri

In My Take this week, well-known playwright and theatre personality talks about her poem I Am Special that celebrates differences.

The idea of writing the poem called 'I am Special. So Are You', came from a school friend Ritika Sahni who heads Trinayani, an organization that is working towards building a disability-friendly world. Ritika said that they were looking for a poem that talks to regular children about disability as something that is part of life, and should not be regarded as strange.

This was Ritika's brief and the words came together very quickly. It is the simplest thing I have written but has gathered a lot of empathy and sympathy.

I have since used the poem at various places, including a workshop where there was no child with a disability and it touched many hearts. Someone might see shyness or lack of self-confidence as a disability, and I feel the poem has empowered many with this very simple message.

I was very touched and happy when the poem was chosen to be a part of the CBSE main course for Class 10 in the last edition for almost five years. Scholastic has also published it. In the book, there is a section on inclusive behaviour and this poem is in the first section that talks about it.

There was a very simple thing I wanted to communicate, which is that differences are to be celebrated, not condemned, and that what appears abnormal to you could be normal to me and vice versa. We are so ready to judge constantly because something is not normal to us.

Watch in Sign Language