If only....I sit in the court of law with only these words ringing in my mind. There are endless tears. Tears of remorse, tears of failure. Failure to be a good mother. Failing to see and understand the innumerable warning signs that my child's progressing disorder gave me.
The only reason for my smile,my 16 year old boy Abhay stands in the trial box today.
Abhay has AUTISM. Yes, I accept it today. But If only....I had visualized and accepted it earlier things would have been so different.
When Abhay was born on 23rd September 1996, our happiness knew no bounds. After a series of miscarriages he was my first 'live' child and nothing less than a miracle for me.
As days passed, it was him my life revolved around. His every movement, each smile and cry, those little gestures, I awaited for them impatiently. For him I lived and he lived in me.
Everything was perfect EXCEPT that Abhay as a little baby almost never smiled. He never reciprocated gestures of love like hugs or touch and made almost no baby sounds.
I noticed it. Noticed these SIGNS everyday but IGNORED.
At the age of 2, my dear boy Abhay avoided any conversation. Whatever little words like 'maa' and 'papa' he had learned, he seemed to be forgetting using those too.He made no eye contacts.
While other babies of his age laughed,chatted and played he sat on his bed or cot silently.
I noticed this too and got worried. But my ignorance took the better of me and dismissed it as 'mere shyness' of my sweet boy.
When at 4 years. Abhay joined school, I was happy and hopeful of him becoming 'normal' and 'cooperative' but things never got better. On the contrary he developed a strange obsession for 'tin cans'.
He would collect them from everywhere and arrange them up in rows, piling them on one another.
I could very well sense his behaviour as rather 'inappropriate' but my love, my blind love dismissed this too as my kids 'new hobby'.
Infact I started buying him cans. I woulds get them for him and he would silently retire to his room and sit for hours piling and re-piling them.
At 10, he was facing major problems at school and almost everyone could sense there was something wrong with his attitude, except me. Once when his teacher called me to discuss important matters regarding my child's progress I IGNORED the meeting for I hated to hear anyone call my little bundle of joy as 'abnormal' and 'mad'.
I chose a private tuition as the solution. Mrs. Riya was a wise lady.
She WARNED me several times about Abhay's behaviour and that his avoiding eye contacts, his reclusive attitude and decreasing grades at school all very clearly suggested 'Autism'.
But blame me, my blind, ignorant, selfish love- I IGNORED this clear and red line sign too! Asking Mrs. Riya to leave then and there.
And as she had warned, thing never got better. My child never laughed or played with me. Never behaved like an adolescent would.
Now at 16 after changing innumerable schools and hearing the children of his age pass rude and cruel taunts with no therapy or medical treatment Abhay's condition progressed to a new phase.
He had developed a violent and criminal frenzy.
And as a doting mother I was still unable to decipher those SIGNS. If only....I had realized them even at this stage, I could have saved my child's future.
The judge's loud gavel bang broke my reverie. And I heard the unbelievable words reach my ears -
'After listening and hearing to all the witnesses this court has come up with the decision that juvenile criminal ABHAY GUPTA, 16 years has brutally murdered his classmate on 21st August. He is awarded an imprisonment of 3 years along with rehabilitation and education.The court is adjourned for the day.'
I listened in regret more than disbelief as the court passed its judgement. My little boy Abhay was behind the bars today. My ignorance has cost him his future.I stood there like a complete loser. A helpless woman who destroyed her family.
If only I had realized that loving my child doesn't mean over looking the imperfections.
And not taken for granted the warning signs that lay before my eyes each day, each moment, in all his gestures and actions.
MORAL : Our strength can also become our greatest weaknesses and vice versa if not rationally channelized.
'Continuing to believe in a lie is a lot easier then accepting the truth' but one should learn to be vigilant and accept the realities no matter how harsh and painful.
Friends, the early signs of almost all diseases are the most important yet easily neglected ones. Don't be ignorant and read on to know more about them.
This post is written as a part of 'The moral of the story is...' contest by Colgate and Indiblogger.
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