Monday, September 18, 2017

Junnu Mammu!

June Bhai is old now. But Dylan (my 3.5yr old son) is older than him.

My sister Itrat,  explained this well, "All kids grow up, but Juney remains the baby of the house."

Dylan has grown past his curious questions of wondering when Junnu would start talking. He adores Junnu Mammu the way he is.

June and Dylan love each other. I'm hoping to start writing about my son and my brother's special relationship, here.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Lets Play!

Thank you for reading and sharing my last post. Hope it can make a tiny difference somewhere! 
Here's a HAPPY Post with photos of my Techno friendly brother! :)

Busy exploring the Tabla Ap on Mummy's Tablet. In fact he's great on it

Uno! And look who won! 

Favorite  toy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

No County for Special People

Let me admit, I have written and deleted similar posts many times in the past. It's about the truth we mask with love to protect our brother. 

Last night when my elder brother Arshad was reversing his car to drop me to my place, he pointed out a group of young boys sitting under his apartment window. He said that when he was placing the new curtains, he saw these boys along with a couple of girls, (who live in the same building) point up at him. They were discussing if he was the "mad guy" or not. They were talking about June. It didn't bother them, that Chiggu bhai (Arshad) was looking at them or could hear them. 

Neither my brother nor I were shocked by this incident.  Every time, people behave like this, regarding June Bhai, it just leaves us stoic. The coldness with which people say such things, transcends to us as coldly as it were meant. Mostly. But sometimes we break. 

Why are people so scared of what they don’t understand? My brother’s brain is severely damaged but to the “young educated adults in my housing society” he is a spectacle to talk about or to stare at through the window of his first floor apartment. Uneducated children from the nearing slums think it’s “funny” to pelt an occasional marble or a pebble at him if he’s sitting unattended at the window. Luckily, he's never got hurt. Luckily the vigilant watchmen have driven these children off the compound.

It’s June’s birthday next month. Mummy and I wanted to take him to a park. But our immediate concern was that it’s on a Sunday and the place will be crowded. People will stare at us and laugh at him. June has no understanding of why people laugh at him, but as his family, we feel exasperated and torn between, ‘should we tell them not to laugh and explain his condition, or should we ignore them or perhaps  should we express our anger?’

This post is not just about my brother. It is about a general attitude the Indian society has, towards people with special needs. Forget being sensitive to people with special needs the only thing the public in India can do is to indeed make such people feel “out of place”. 

At the recently concluded Mumbai Film Festival, delegates were cueing up to get into the theaters hours before the actual shows. The venue was crowded with the same competitive air you witness at any local train station in Mumbai. On one such day, an elderly man, with a limp was climbing a staircase ahead of me, feeling impatient at being slowed down because of his handicap, a young boy pushed both the elderly gentleman and me to move up. I felt bad and took a resolve to not let anyone do the same, by guarding his space. I could sense the frustration people felt behind me…but what the hell?

Some friends complain of crying infants in flights. Crying infants. Pray what are these young parents supposed to do, pack up their infants and check them in with their luggage? I have seen young couples feel so embarrassed when their babies cry at take off. Just the way I feel embarrassed when Juney as much as opens his mouth on the flight. The words of Rahul Gupta the Indigo employee, who  once denied us our boarding passes, echoing in my mind, "Your brother seems aggressive and is a potential threat to the safety of passengers." 

Why is that when most Indians see a person with mental or physical disabilities they get overwhelmed with sympathy or callousness? Some even feel compelled to offer weird logic like "pichle janam main kuchh burra kiya hoga!," Yes I have actually been told that too.

Loves looking out of the window

In my brother’s case, we are lucky to have an excellent group of friends and family. Our friends have their own equation with him. When little kids of  our friends visit the house and are curious about June, I have heard some beautiful explanations from their parents. Ranging from “He’s a big baby!” to “He is a small baby who had a lot of bournvita so he looks big, but is actually small!” To the plain truth, that “he had got hurt as a child and is special.”

When you teach your child to be sensitive they are so quick to learn. Kids love June, but you just have to give them the special introduction he deserves! Likewise, adults in India need sensitizing programs to help make the society friendlier to people with special needs. We need to learn to be patient and allow everyone the equal space they demand in society. Old people, infants, children who are still learning the fine world of manners, people with special needs, whether mental or physical. Our judgements on individuals need introspection. 

"The, Thank god, you didn't make me like this" approach needs to change! Please be thankful, but not derogatory to anyone.

It's high time!

Window love!
Hell! I'm sleepy but I have to hear this song first! :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

"He Called me Mumma!"

"He's going to start talking at 40," that is what my Naana used to say about June. I had never met Naana, but Mummy has told me this story many times. 

Since last year Juney has been unwell. It’s been one illness after the other. Including an increase in tremors, which scared all of us and brought back memories we never wanted to visit again. He's better now, though his balance is seriously affected.

Post illness, June has emerged more intelligent and emotionally very sensitive. He tries to shape words in his mouth but his tongue fails him. Sometimes he tries really hard and some long sentences of jumbled words flow. It’s gibberish. But then we’ve never desired words with June. His eyes have always done the talking. 

Bhai is extremely dependent on Mummy now. She is the constant in his life. Recently, I was helping her re-arrange her cupboard, her saris were strewn all over the bed. I noticed that Juney was looking concerned; he would look at the saris and then look at me, questioningly, as if dreading that Mom was packing for a trip.

My pet name is Sona and for years June has called me "MamMam," more recently he started calling me "Ona" and my latest name from Bhai is "Amna." Mummy pointed out that "Amna was the name of the Prophet’s mother. "I love my new name, I love it's meaning. It means Peace.

June’s favorite spot in the house is the window ledge. He likes to perch himself there and look at kids playing and at cars passing by. Being busy for a few days I couldn’t visit Mummy, so Juney started throwing tantrums. And on one of those evenings, when Juney was in a bad temper, mummy observed that he was trying to get the attention of a few young girls standing downstairs. Seeing that Mummy had noticed, he smiled and looked her in the eye and said, "Amna."
He was contented the rest of the evening, because he was able to put words to an emotion. He was missing his Amna!

Yesterday, my phone rang late at night, "He called me Mumma," mummy exclaimed ecstatically! 

June has a few favorite words, one is "eeeeeeeeee" more recently "abbababababa" and for as long as I have known him, "mummmmmmmamamama." 

But a well-formulated “Mumma” spoken just for mummy, to mummy, with that look in his eyes as she hugged him, meant the world to her!

It was a conversation, between her and June. A one-word sentence, that outlined their relationship. Something that makes her want to live, to enjoy and absorb more from the gift that Juney is!

Enjoying the Sea on a bike!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Have you seen this yet?

My website! View it now!!

Hello Is Junnu There?

I finally got Juney on the phone. I spoke for 5 mins and he heard me babble for that much time. It's quite a big task to get him on the phone. Actually, that's the easy part; he likes mobile phones, but only for listening to music. To get him to actually listen to you talk, is the bigger challenge!

I applied a different strategy today, speaking to him like a grown up. I told him I'll be coming to Lucknow next month to take him back. And that I miss him because no one makes tea for me anymore. QED!

Phone to his Ear , not without style though!