The Little Angel – Guest column by Richa Sharma, Special Educator
In our weekly guest column, Richa Sharma, a special educator for 20 years and a member of the NGO MaitriBodh Parivaar writes a moving account of her bond with Anisha, a young girl with Down syndrome.
I still remember that day vividly when this seven-year-old little girl walked into my life. She came with her mother and didi to meet me. Her mother wanted me to teach her at home. But little did I know then, that the roles would be reversed and I would be the one learning from her.
Thus, a new and most enriching journey in my life began. She would come twice in a week, sharp on time and always open to learning. However, her learning was not just limited to the mundane school texts. She wanted to learn about life, her ma’am and each and every little thing that mattered to her.
Journey of discovery
So we read, shared, discussed, studied, painted, baked, sang and did almost everything. We both experienced love and a bond for each other. Days passed into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. The love kept growing each day and our bond stronger.
Our classes became a space of learning for both of us. While I taught her writing, she taught me patience. When I taught her listening with focus, she taught me the same. She taught me experiencing, being open and simply being passionate.
Her determination to not miss a single class used to be so contagious that I would mostly end up taking her class sometime or the other even if I had other plans.
She used to find many things that her peers could do, challenging. We decided to work on strengthening her strengths. She is a visual learner, and most of the teaching strategies involved the use of visuals. However, the most important strategies that we came to discover were compassion, love and honesty.
She likes listening to stories and is an amazing storyteller herself. She is able to express her thoughts, feelings and opinions clearly and completely, such that there is no baggage that she carries forward. Unlike most of us, who are not able to express our feelings and then carry it with us for a long time, she expresses herself completely.
If she is upset, she doesn’t hide her feelings but expresses it and after a short while becomes absolutely fine. To express completely is one of the best lessons that she has taught me.
She is kind, loving and a good human being. She never misses an opportunity to pray for anyone in need, be it a person or an animal. She thought that my life was challenging and had a lot of concerns about me as I used to stay alone. She would ask me if there is enough food in the house, and if there were holidays, she wanted me to go to my hometown. She not only cared about me but also looked after the two strays in my society and got food for them every single time she came over for the class.
She is passionate about doing well in her studies and works very hard. From the time when she would be mischievous and make deliberate errors while writing or answering just to annoy me to a diligent and focused learner that she has blossomed into, it has been a beautiful journey for both of us.
Her loving handmade cards and personal notes for every occasion are some of my most precious treasures. Her display picture has always been a picture of the two of us, just out of her love for me.
It is said that you experience unconditional love from the Divine. I have experienced that same unconditional love from this little Angel as well. And there is just so much I keep on learning with her presence in my life.
May the Angels continue to shower their love on this little one always! May she continue to transform many more lives!