Anjali Kumari, aged 26, came to Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, and the Mary Verghese Institute of Rehabilitation in mid 2011, having spent almost eight years in bed. Living in Ranchi (Jharkand), she was a fine school-going child in Class VIII when she lost her vision following a febrile illness. It did not end there. Her spinal cord was impaired.
Her lower limbs became paralysed and Anjali had to discontinue her schooling. Lack of access to quality treatment and rehabilitation meant eight years in the wilderness with just her dad and mom for company.
A year into her stress, she had lost her only brother, too. Anjali had not heard of Braille and hence never got to read anything. Listening to music was about the only recreation. In 2011, her family came to know of CMC, Vellore, and brought her for an assessment in the hope of making a difference to her life.
One of the doctors remembered another girl with similar challenges, having treated her at the PMR OPD in CMC four years earlier. He introduced Anjali to Harsha. In an inspiring 20-minute telephonic conversation, Harsha connected with Anjali, and made her believe in giving wings to hopes and thoughts, even as eyes and legs were failing the heart.
Harsha, aged 18, studies in Class XI in Little Flower Convent in Chennai. When she was about two, brain fever had placed her in a position similar to Anjali.
Support of a loving and caring family ensured she started her schooling. Harsha has had access to the world of Braille and is a voracious reader. The two started speaking regularly on the phone and thus was born a spontaneous friendship that both describe as ‘close’.
Harsha ushered Anjali into the world of Braille and also visited her in Rehab, Bagayam (the blurred image is Harsha bedside with Anjali).
With constant guidance and inspiration from Harsha, Anjali mastered braille in the space of a few months. The poem ‘Be the best’ was Anjali’s first "written" communication in many years, thanks to her serendipitous friend, Harsha.
Harsha, a hard taskmaster, gives Anjali regular assignments, reviews and preserves them. She describes Anjali as a deep thinker who could do much with a bit more confidence and is helping her get there. Anjali is also a good communicator.
Harsha wishes to become an English teacher. For Anjali, the doors to the future have just opened. She has now resumed her studies. She is set step into Class XI. Faced with challenges in vision, mobility and several other physical challenges, the two girls are determined to make a mark.
To meet them and watch the chemistry between the two is a heart-warming experience.
Be The Best
Life is a test
Try to be the best
To make a name and fame
But one thing my friend keep in mind
Life is not a re-exam
So be the best.
Keep hope as the input
And the outstanding as the output
Yes my dear, be the best
Leave the rest
Try to be the best out of waste
All the best to be the best in every part of life
Light a lamp or a ray of light
Let it shine till the end of life
Anjali Kumari, Jharkhand