Posted by Shailja Sharma, New Delhi
Satvik is my 15 year old, highly energetic ever-smiling boy. He is on autism spectrum with no speech, but manages to expresses through his eyes, gestures and art. He understands everything, but can pretend otherwise. I have seen his twinkling smile, when the teacher is helplessly trying to get him to do a required task.
After his annual exam, Satvik was enjoying his holidays with his regular dose of physical training. The next school session was to begin from 2nd April. Until then, we had plans to attend art exhibitions and explore new innovative art techniques. With lockdown, not only our outdoor plans but everything else came to a standstill.
Satvik began to snap violently. One moment, he would be cheerful, next he would be inconsolable. He would dress up, put on his shoes to step out. Occasionally, he would fetch the car keys and wallet for us to go for a drive (he is so used to daily rides). When we refused, he would stand at his room window, plead and cry. It wasn’t easy. He was getting irritated. And his irritation soared with the rising temperature.
Then something wonderful happened…
|Iced tea came into his home-life. Satvik had his first iced-tea during a visit to McDonalds. Today, iced-tea gives him relief from the heat and calms him down. Nowadays, I witness him having iced-tea in the middle of the night when he sits and paints. Each sip and each stroke are equally relished.|
Ice cream has been his all time summer favourite. I am thankful that at least the lockdown came at a time when he can enjoy it. For Satvik, ice cream experiments are fun. Often it is just freezing of coke. Other times, it is rainbow coloured with a few missing hues . Grandpa likes the milky one with loads of cashews . Chocolate ones are a sheer delight for him. To add more variety there are the summer fruits. Till April, it was banana fudge. Now in May, it is mango. Satvik and his Grandma like the mango ones. He looks forward to trying something with the watermelon. I guess the artist within him explores colour and taste together.
The third “I” to our rescue is iPad. This has become Satvik’s connect with school. He doesn’t like studying, but nonetheless sits through online classes on his iPad. At times, when the teacher is calling for his attention and repeating “Satvik look here!”, I have seen him peeping out of the window looking at the chirping birds or scrolling for Arijit’s latest songs.
But more than catching up with academics, the iPad has introduced him to Awaaz app. It is helping him hone his interest and skill in digital art with Joy Doodle, Digital Brainwash and Scratchify. The iPad is opening up a world of art for Satvik to explore and experiment with.
Now he seems to be enjoying rising late in the morning, playing with grandparents and of course indulging with his three I’s.