Blessed I am for Siddhu is my ex-collegue and a great friend. Blessed I am for I have met him during my most challenging days in life. Blessed I am for he is the inspiration to look beyond adversities in life. Blessed I am for he is a friend not just to me, but to Dr Abdul Kalam. It would be unfair on me to write about Siddhu, Siddharth Jeyakumar after Dr. Kalam himself had described about this young man and his strengths that strike us with no words but an ardent dedication to him. Below given are the extracts from Dr Kalam's speech in Kerala in his own words:
Following is the text of President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s remarks while visiting Adarsh Charitable Trust in Kerala:
Brain to remove the pain
“I am delighted to visit ‘Adarsh Charitable Trust’ which is based on the intense need of the parents of the children with autism and cerebral palsy. A mother's love for such a child right from conception, pregnancy to birth and growth has transformed into a big mission of making the child to live a near-normal life... I would like to share my experience with a young boy suffering from Cerebral Palsy, whom I met in Chennai on December 2, 2005.
My experience with a special young man
I met Shri Siddharth Jayakumar at Chennai, who was born in Chikmagalur in Karnataka in the year 1980. He gave me a presentation using a laptop. His father’s name is Shri Jayakumar and his mother’s name is Komala. When he was born the doctors did not know what he was suffering from. Later on, they said he is mentally retarded. After detailed examination, it was found that he was suffering from Cerebral Palsy. As a result of this disease he has difficulty in co-ordination between his mind and body. He studied in Vidyasagar at Chennai. Though he studied very well, he has to dictate the answers to another student while writing the examination. In spite of this process in the 10th class examination he had scored 80%. He says he could not score more just because he was not allowed to do the practical and could not draw the diagrams. In the plus two examinations, he had secured an overall 90% and scored 100% in computer science. It is pertinent to note that he is the only boy to score 100% in this subject. Later he studied B.Com and scored 75%. He wanted to study Master in Social Work whereas he was given M.A. Economics in the Loyola College. He has scored 78% in his final examination. Shri Siddharth after completing his M.A., worked as a teacher in Vidyasagar itself. Later he attended Disability Job Fair organized by Ability Foundation, an NGO working for the welfare of the disabled. In the job fair he was selected by ABN AMRO looking at his academic track record. ABN AMRO has designated him as an Officer for verifying the export and import documents of the clients. To enable him to perform this job ABN AMRO has trained him to learn the banking and import and export procedures of countries like Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Australia. He is the first student to be employed with Cerebral Palsy outside Vidyasagar school. He loves Mathematics. He has a mission of carrying out social work particularly for uplifting the life of special people with multiple disabilities. What a beautiful thought. The experience of Shri Siddharth clearly brings out the special strengths available with certain people with some disabilities. The two important thoughts emanate from Siddarth’s life.
a. The will power of Siddarth that “I will win, I will win” can be propagated among all the children.
b. The initiative of ABN AMRO to take a special person like Siddarth for regular work in the bank shows how it values the inherent strength and knowledge of the person irrespective of the difficulties. This type of outgoing effort of an organization can be followed by many institutions.
In this connection, I appreciate the action taken by Sakthi Masala, Erode (Tamil Nadu), who are employing special persons for many of their production activities. Thirty-two per cent of its employees are special people including mentally challenged people. Our social system and the educational institutions must recognize the strengths of the individual and provide the opportunity for these flowers to blossom. I am sure the children trained in Adarsh Charitable Trust will also be able to take up independent job as has been demonstrated by Shri Siddharth Jayakumar.
Any disorder in human faculty reduces the self-esteem of the individual and increases the dependence on others. Our efforts must be to bring about a sense of equality amongst them through a conducive environment. Equality can be generated by training them to acquire certain skills and engage their minds in productive efforts to enable them to lead a normal life
May God bless you.”
To me, Siddharth had taught me the toughest lesson and gave me a realization to look beyond imperfections. Unknowingly he changed the way I was leading my life. Today I owe my acceptance of the facts in my life to this brave friend of mine who transformed my thinking to a greater extent. Thank you Siddhu... blessed I am to be your friend!