The Dyslexic Me
The Dyslexic Me11 mins 561 11 mins 561
The day of the celebration had arrived. The atmosphere was filled with colorful balloons, cheerful kids and aroma of newly painted room pervaded the air. I could see the immense joy in their eyes. They all ran towards me and gave me a big hug. That affectionate hug cannot be described by words but only felt by heart. Tears started trickling down my face. One of them, looked at me and wiped my tears with his little tender fingers. It is said, the happiest moment for a person is when you simultaneously have a tear in your eye and smile on your lips. That day I was experiencing the same moment. Neither my lips could stop smiling nor my tears could stop flowing and I saw Mr. Kumaraswamy walking towards me. He folded his hands and said “Thank You for coming” with tears in his eyes. He handed me the scissors and showed me the way in.
I cut the ribbon and there was thunderous applause. As I entered, I patted myself and patted my so-called Dyslexia because of which I was able to help these people. The kids pulled me and dragged me to a table. I was surprised to see it and on seeing it, my heart went on a trip down the memory lane from where I became “Dyslexic Me.”
As a school girl, I was a great fan of a TV show “Bournvita Quiz Contest”. One Sunday morning I was sitting after a sumptuous breakfast waiting to see this program. As the name indicates, it is a quiz program where students from different schools compete with each other on general knowledge. This show invites a Guest who has special talent and who can be a role model for the school students and the viewers. I do not know if the woman who came as a guest that day was a role model to them, but for me, it was a day where I developed a quirky skill, taught by her.
The woman named Sasha was the guest and she wrote her name in a mirror image form. I was truly impressed by her. There on, every day and night I started practicing writing mirror image. In short, the mirror image writing bug had bit me very badly. She wrote in block letters. I was one step ahead. I started practicing in cursive writing. Within 2 months I became a pioneer. My joy knew no bounds as I wrote my name in running letters in mirror image.
I was so happy and proud of myself. With full of joy, I showed my friends and teachers. My heart sank as I got the most satire response from many, especially elders “I think you have the writing syndrome called “Dyslexia”. We will tell your mother to sit with you and make sure you get rid of this”. I did not know what to say. I did not argue that it is a habit that the lady in quiz contest “Sasha” also has. Instead, I was scared & confused. A series of thoughts flashed my mind like a lightning “what if mom and dad also think that I have Dyslexia? What if they think I am abnormal? What if they kick me out of the school?”
Back then, I did not know to ignore such people, so I thought “Yes probably they are right. Why am I getting so happy with this weird writing? What is the use of this? No one is going to invite me to Bournvita Quiz contest as a Guest.” Little did I know that this peculiar habit would make me meet a bunch of people witnessing one of their most beautiful days. Even after lot of mockery, I was not able to leave that habit as I was so obsessed with it. So, from then on I used to not publicize about this skill of mine. But whenever I am bored, I used to write in mirror image to keep in touch with the skill. Years passed and I never thought about the mirror image nor told anyone about it. In short, it became an “invisible, untold skill.
I went on to do my under graduation in the year 2007. It was my final year during 2011 and I was elected as the Public Relations Head for the year’s Technical festival. Generally, in this festival, all the technical event competitions like symposium, mini projects, code hacking contests etc. take place. For people like me who are least interested in technical areas and are born just for the non-technical areas, there are fun events like games, music dedication & variety of food stalls etc. But this year’s technical festival saw a different event; a kind of event that the college had never seen before or never had thought of.
I was almost set for the 3-day event, when just 2 days before the commencement of the event, a man named Mr. Kumaraswamy came to my college. He was running a charitable trust, an orphanage in the nearby town but the home was demolished because of poor quality bricks and Mr. Kumaraswamy did not have funds to reconstruct the orphanage. He had seen our technical festival’s pamphlet and since our college is well known, he thought he can put a book stall at our Technical Fest and collect money that can be used for the orphanage. My Dean introduced me to him.
Mr. Kumaraswamy was a simple and humble looking man. He was around 55 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, wheatish toned and owned an extremely amiable personality. Despite an affectionate look, his eyes seemed as if they were desperately seeking for help. My Dean in a stern tone said “Preeti use your talents or skills and see what you can do for the good cause but do not expect that I will give you any extra funds”. I was in a great fix. It was only 1 and a half days left for the tech fest to start and No Funds left to conduct an event. Somehow, I felt I should sincerely help Mr. Kumaraswamy because I could see the urge in him to help the needy kids. My mind started working as fast as a race car on a speed track. I knew that a book stall will not gain Mr. Kumaraswamy more funds as people like to read books online or many of them might not be even interested in it.
Having all these thoughts running in my mind, I went to have lunch in canteen. I got many ideas like dance competition, singing competition etc. but I knew those will never fetch so much money. I was almost about to give up and beg Dean to donate some money. I even thought I will ask my Dad to send some money. With these confusions in mind and struggling for ideas, I went to wash my hands. My phone rang breaking my train of thoughts. It was my friend Anu. She asked “Preeti, where are you? I have something to tell you.” In a low tone, I said “I am in canteen”. She said “Okay, be there. I am nearing the canteen.” As I finished washing my hands and lifted my head to see the mirror that was in front of me, I saw my friend, Anu, through the mirror, coming towards me with a paper in the hand. She had a big smile on her face and screamed with joy “Preeti, you topped in the mid-term exam.” The moment I was about to turn to her, I stopped and again looked through the mirror and was dumbstruck. I just paused for few seconds and stared at the paper in Anu’s hand through the mirror. I happily scolded myself “why did not I get this idea earlier”. My joy knew no bounds. No, Not because I topped, but because I got a fantastic idea for the orphanage funds. When I saw the mid-term exam test paper through the mirror, the writings on the paper were in a mirror image.
On the spur of the moment, it struck me that generally human beings pay few pennies for fun games to have some fun. Then, definitely there will be people who will pay if an interesting fun game is conducted, amidst the serious Technical festival. I jumped like a Super Mario, hugged Anu, took the paper and ran away as fast as Usain Bolt or I think even a little faster than that. She was unaware that the reason for my joy was not the marks but the “mirror image” or rather “Dyslexia”!! It was time to make my invisible talent visible. The Dyslexia within me was reborn.
I immediately called my team for a quick meeting. I asked them to arrange for some A4 sheets and pens. The team was perplexed. I winked and said “Let’s have some fun tickling the brain of all students.” The stall was named “Test your Dyslexia!!” The game was related to proverbs. Since there were no extra funds and extreme time crunches, I wrote all the proverbs in the mirror image form all by myself & jumbled them, . There were around 10 sheets initially and the number of sheets shot up like the petrol prices in the next 2 days.
These were 1 line proverbs which were jumbled and completely mirror image. A pair of two in a team has to identify 10 correct proverbs in 30 seconds. The entry ticket was Rs.40 per team and the money collected was to be donated to the orphanage. There was a huge crowd for the event, initially people played because it was for a good cause and then finding the right proverb from jumbled mirror image challenged them big time. There were also people who played repeatedly because they were losing in the previous games. At the third day, to handle the crowd, I had to make many more sheets of proverbs. In fact, we started another stall for the game to continue.
My Dean came to know about this, he was thoroughly impressed and towards the end, he along with four other staffs came and played 12 continuous games. At the end of the third and last day of the festival, while settling the accounts, the sum of money collected in the mirror image game was 53,340 rupees, a sum of money that I had never handled ever before. I was overwhelmed and breathed a sigh of relief. My relief proved right when Mr. Kumaraswamy walked towards me and folded his hands together. With a choked voice and with a tear in his eye, he uttered, “I had completely lost hope. I thought I would end up leaving these children stranded. I was having nightmares. You created a miracle. I have no words to thank you. You are a blessing to the children in my home.”
That day I had a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling that I had never felt before, not even when I scored highest marks in class. Smiling to myself, I thought just because it was a skill that was very weird, I felt it was useless. However, today, this quirky or rather eccentric skill helped a bunch of orphans. The saying “When a person does common things in an uncommon way, he/she catches the world’s attention” became so true for me. Though I did not catch the world’s attention but I at least attracted the attention of all students of my college to play the game through my mirror image writing skill. In fact, I got to know that students who were simply sleeping at their hostel rooms, woke up and came to the stall, hearing about the challenging game.
Three months later, after finishing all my exams, it was time to leave my college and embark a new journey. I received a call from my Dean asking me to come to his office. I was confused and I started mustering all my mischiefs that I did and was getting prepared for the scolding. However, to my surprise, as soon as I entered, I saw Mr. Kumaraswamy sitting in front of my Dean. As soon as I entered, he smiled brightly and held an invitation card. My Dean said, “Preeti, Mr. Kumaraswamy has renovated the home with the funds that you have collected through game. There is an inauguration ceremony day after tomorrow. He wants you to come and cut the ribbon for inauguration.” I was speechless. I could not even utter a word. With tears up to the brim of my eyes and smile on my lips, I just nodded my head as fast as I could.
And that day I was there at the inauguration and as I cut the ribbon and went in, Mr. Kumaraswamy came with the handmade card which had beautiful drawings made by the kids. The kids then took me near a table. On the table, there was a beautiful chocolate cake. On top of it, there was an icing with words “THANK YOU”, but written in mirror image!
Mr. Kumar smiled and said, “these kids took lot of time writing it. They could write one letter at a time. That is why they have written in block letters and were unable to write in cursive writing like you.” I was taken aback. Those kids had never even seen me before. Mr. Kumaraswamy had told them that I am an expert in writing mirror image. Therefore, the kids had decided to contribute something to me in my style. Thus, they all decided to write “Thank You” on the cake. It was such a cloud nine moment. My dyslexia bug bit others!!
Every one of us has some unique, hidden, quirky skill. It might be mocked by others or sometimes even considered as a disorder by others. But always remember that it might come handy at some place or the other. It might be dancing, singing, writing, sports, speaking, or even writing mirror image. Who knows, there might be some people who might be benefited by it. For me it was the mirror image writing which helped some orphans lead their lives, for the reader it might be anyone, even you yourself. So, “Are You Ready to Play the Dyslexia game?”