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  • My life is beautiful.  I have been blessed because I found the Cheshire Home that gave me the most precious gift of my life – Education.  As a child I was very fond of reading and writing, scribbling alphabets on our walls and in my brother’s note books.  However, my parents could not find a school that would take me in with my disability, even though my mother offered to stay close to the class the whole day.

    Someone told my parents that with physiotherapy I would be able to walk and so, one day, my father took me to St. Martha’s Hospital.  There we met a nun who started chatting with us.  When she heard that my family was still searching for a school that would take me in, she was kind enough to give us the address and telephone number of the Cheshire Home.  And that is how I found a piece of heaven!
    I was 5 when I joined the Cheshire family.  I was fitted with calipers that made me cry but that I was gently and lovingly coaxed into wearing.  Mrs. Veronica Das was the General Secretary at that time and she was specially good and kind to all the children. I was one of the youngest residents and so I was given a lot of toys and colour pencils and books.  Betty, one of the residents who is still at the Home, was our earliest teacher, teaching the children rhymes, artwork, the importance of sharing, and the need to show respect to teachers and elders.  A little later, the Home admitted me to the Seventh Day Adventist School nearby.  Here we were given good education, and even though there were times when we experienced stigma and discrimination from some of the other children because of our disabilities, the Cheshire Home compensated with its caring concern.  The Home also encouraged us to learn music, theatre, needlework, etc. >After completing 10th Standard the Cheshire Home Committee approved to enrol me in Mount Carmel College.  Mrs. Everts who was Head of the Home at that time helped me in getting admission, and since I had to move out of the Home and into the College Hostel, she also gave me a lot of good advice on how to focus on studies, how to choose friends, how to manage money, etc.  Even now, I recollect and use her words of wisdom to guide me through life.
    Adjusting to the outside world was difficult – new environment, unknown faces, my own ignorance and shyness to ask others for help.  I spent a lot of time in my own room; people did not seem to care if one had missed a meal or was ill or was feeling homesick.  The girls were different from what I had been used to – different in their attitudes, dressing styles, talking styles.  Finding friends was a challenge.  But the Home had counselled me and prepared me to adapt to new situations and be independent. Gradually I made a large circle of friends and really enjoyed college and hostel life. I graduated in 2004 and got a job with Dell Computers through campus recruitment.  I have moved on since then; today I am working with IBM.  In this time I met Aslam, whom I am now married to.  We had a vedic wedding, a nikah, and a registered marriage, so we are bound to each other three times! Sometimes I think of what my life would have been like if I had not come into the Cheshire Home.  I have received so much, so I feel in my own way I should try to give back something and to remain associated with the Home for the rest of my life.  So I have joined as a Life Member and now I am also on the Management Committee representing the residents, just to do whatever little I can for the progress of the Home.

    At present, I am working with IBM as Assistant Manager.  

    Bhuvaneshwari’s message: I ask that instead of paying lip service to the cause of disabled people please consult us in the design of public goods so that we can also benefit from them.  For example, we are seeing the Bangalore Metro Project coming up and we wonder whether we can also become regular and independent users of this public service.  Is it designed taking into account the special requirements of the physically disabled population? What about various other public goods and services like buses and bus stations, government offices, etc.? Please involve us in planning.