Today I visited another world on a foreign planet.
There, I met a special kind of people living with cerebral palsy, autism and Down syndrome. They are kept away, set aside from the usual society that you and I grew up to know.
Staying amongst them, I witnessed another kind of beauty. Not the kind of beauty that is produced when the “glam team” does a good job with the right cosmetics on a supermodel or a renowned fashion designer creates a masterpiece.
No, I witnessed a beauty that comes only from the soul. An existence of light shining as bright as the sun, tearing through my flesh and piercing through my heart till it emptied me of any pride I had left. I was humbled!
This beauty was, in all honesty, the best I had seen in all my days.
In their own world, they are kings and princes, queens and princesses. They are superiors, every minute of every day and that was not a fact to be contested.
Though they are seen as people with troubles in social interaction and communication, who spoke a language made of sounds and strange noises, it was a language full of love and grace. This was far more than I could say for we the ‘normal ’people who spent more time picking grammatical errors in sentences instead of listening to what the person talking really had to say.
Though their tones were low and sometimes too loud, I only longed to hear what they had to say to the “normal people” like me.
In their eyes, I saw no fear and no pretense. They were free of low self-esteem and they didn’t care if mine was so high above the sky. They exuded such confidence even with their heads bowed- down.
Their definition of society was not the same as ours. They didn’t have to differentiate between the high-classed or low-classed. They just lived their lives. So I couldn’t help but wonder how we became normal and they “abnormal”.
They had a strong bound, a rare relationship, though it was mostly on the floor and on their mats but they sure knew how to mingle well. They laughed and cried and ate together.
They couldn’t stand erect physically but they stood tall when they faced their challenges. They had little coordination; sometimes they couldn’t sit up straight or control their necks but they had smiles that shone. They are beacons of hope even though the world called them hopeless.
To them, nothing was too complicated. What they couldn’t say, they acted it out using their bodies and making facial expressions. They didn’t use smileys or emojis. They knew nothing of Facebook or Instagram but they were seen and heard. Somehow, someway they were understood using their own unique ways of communication.
As we traveled through their cities, I understood that humans were made to survive. It didn’t matter if they had to crawl on bended knees to get to their destination. They would crawl with all their strength and might. As I watched an eight- year old boy crawl on his bare palms and feet to meet his friends on the playground, the word ‘determination’ became personified.
Then I came across the most selfless people I had ever seen.
A different category of people called the caregivers. Living and giving their time and energy solely for the comfort of others. They didn’t mind if they had vomit on their clothes or if their faces were wet with saliva, they stayed right where they were needed. Caring and teaching all day, never getting tired.
At the end of the day, I realized what I called nothing was the greatest gift I had. Sometimes we all need to stroll out of the usual to realize how extremely fortunate we are.