When I was asked if I would like to share my personal journey with students in Boston University, I had no reason to think other wise. I wasn’t sure if I could meet their expectation but I was willing to share my world with our future educators.
I volunteered with Federation of children with special need in summer, the outreach specialist asked me if I would like to part of an outreach program in Boston university. I agreed to join the fall session.
Prof R was kind enough to accommodate my convenient dates. He asked me to speak whatever I want. I think he didn’t know with this open option I can speak forever :)
Once I knew I didn’t have to speak on a specific topic I decided to share my journey, my thought process, my struggle, my victories, my worries and my hope.
I had my notes and I knew what i wanted to speak but when i walked in that room, the introduction from Prof R left me speechless. He had read my blogs and had wonderful things to say about me. I decided to ditch my notes and speak from my heart. I just thought I am speaking to the future of our children and they need to believe in me then only my story can inspire them.
I began my talk thanking them and telling them how strongly I believe that only scientist and teachers can make the world a better place. How their passion becomes hope for many of the mothers like me. How we want to thank them for choosing this profession.
Little did I know that I could speak for more than 30 minutes about Anand, Ajey, Ashish and me, about our lives and our hopes.
I talked about what I did and what I didn’t, what bothered me then and also what keeps me awake now. How parents need to find their hope, their support system, how they need to ask for help and lend hands when some one else needs it.
I talked about my relationship with Anand's teachers, some of my innovative (my word) but crazy ideas to be in regular touch with teachers. How I feel that his teachers made so much difference in our lives, how their positive attitudes made our life much easier. How I feel valued and welcomed in those terrifying IEP meetings. How i believe in their goodness.
Then The talk turned to #100SareePact. How one blue saree made a big change in so many lives, How my Autism stories reached beyond ocean and people found comfort and similarity in theirs lives and mine . They thought my stories gave them voice, strength and hope. How #100SareePact changed the meaning of Saree for me. How the color Blue became the color of support among SareePacter.
After my rambling for 35 minutes or so, the question and answer session made me realize that I was facing a crowd who wanted to follow their passion. Their questions crossed the boundaries of country, race, age, gender or any other limits. Those future educators for sure made me proud and happy. one of them was from India and asked me about my thought of disability culture in India. I wish I had some rosy picture of hope for her but I urged her to use her education to change the lives of the kids in India.
I am very happy, proud and humbled that I could be part of their learning process, I hope I could inspire them in some way. I feel nice that at least I could show them a glimpse of my world. If they remember just one line, one message from my talk then my day is made. Today I write this story thanking all of my Saree Pact sisters, you empower me, educate and strengthen me and make me humble.