He sat on the wheelchair like it was a throne and beamed at everybody as his mother wheeled him into the class.
“How come you are late today?” I asked, knowing his absolute delight in attending our special school. His smile fell and he slowly turned and looked at his mother. Exchanging glances with him, she said, “We had a fight over getting ready for school.”
“Who won?” I asked, trying to dissipate the slight tension between them.
“Actually I lost and I think you should talk to him. I am not able to convince him,” she said.
“Convince him?” I asked. “Yes. You see, he wants to do everything on his own. Even though I want to help him, he does not allow me to. We end up wasting a lot of time and get late for school. He just won’t let me help him,” she complained.
Hiding my smile, I looked at my student with pride. “He likes to be independent and that is what we encourage here in school. Full marks to you Eshwar. But at the same time, shall we get permission from the principal for you to come in half an hour late? That way, your mother’s tension will ease,” I suggested.
“That means I can give Eshwar the time he needs to get ready on his own?” asked Eshwar’s mother. “Yes, definitely,” I replied while putting out some paper and paints for Eshwar to work with.
Once again Eshwar ignored my helping hand and reached out on his own to grasp the adapted paintbrush. “I hold,” he enunciated as he slowly picked up the brush, dipped it in paint and moved it with great effort over the paper.