Oh my blessed ‘Adra’
A wee child you are and a son all the more
Fortune has bestowed upon you ‘mardiyat’
But alas nature has denied you men’s boasts
How cruel are the gods from above and beyond!?
They say, your lad has no tongue!
What do fools know of words antiquity’s old
They say he does not speak!
“Not even a kind word for a damsel in distress”
“He’s is a whimper of soulless caress”
And yet your smile endears you to your little friends
And your presence warms the embrace of cold blizzards
Nature may have denied you a ‘voice’ my son
But she has given you an unfettered soul
That we yearn to see you in play enthralled
“Perhaps his autistic they retort”
Alas we feign words for prejudices old, wicked and cruel
They reduce you to a mere label
But they mean well – such is our love for modern ‘identities’
This, our kinder world!
But you are not a label
And neither must you bend their ear for their solace
No good comes from society’s human mills
Whatever their vogues and fading fashions
Nothing but false hope lies in the imitation of ‘imitators’
Be yourself in the image of your own mind
For nature herself resides in your ways
And your smile will be enough
As your vast soul shall envelope us all
In this great realm of ‘human feats’ and ‘wondrous exploits’
And as you grow old, weak and lonelier
Now conscious of your ‘peculiar’ ways
Unaccustomed to the ever changing fads of your countrymen
Know, you were once the joy of your mother’s permanent gaze
Having redeemed your father of his errant ways
[‘Adra‘ – clan name/branch of the ‘Chauhan’ tribe; used endearingly as a title of endearment’; mardiyat‘ – the state of being male; maleness, masculinity]
Decades ago, in our community, when a baby boy was born, they would rejoice with sweets. And when a baby girl was born – no sweets, less smiles and more consolations. And I used to think them ‘cruel’ – our forebears, such were their ways – but God bless them for their many virtues, for they had more virtues than vices lest we forget. And then my boy was born, and he was autistic. And I now laugh as people shy away, “oh he’s autistic, no matter” – reduced to a mere label. How fortunate am I that I have seen the stupidity of my peers in my own mirror. We trap our children in their bodies for we have lived all our lives in mental cages. And we never once ask, perhaps we are the one’s that invent the illnesses! It is us, the able bodied, the smart, the wise, the presumptuous that cause all the cruelty.