A teacher of life

Posted by Dr. Shanti Auluck, New Delhi


The pandemic has made the whole humanity realise the stark reality of uncertainties of life. It needs thorough re-orientation in our thinking and living. Observing Puneet’s response to various kinds of lockdown has been a great learning experience for me.

Puneet my son, has Down Syndrome and is 44 years old.

His first lockdown started in March 2018 when he developed severe spinal problem which ultimately needed a major surgery in January 2019. He lived a life of confinement and pain for almost a year. It was a very tough situation for him and us.


As his life was normalising with partial resumption of his work in the hospitality sector (since November 2019), another disruption came up with Covid-19 pandemic.

His adaptability to new situations, living in now, love for work and structured daily routine, and capacity for love and happiness gives me strength. It reminds me to look at what is important in life rather than endlessly worry about the future.

It has given us time to enjoy basics of life – interesting variations in food, light conversation with each other and helping in household work. Puneet keeps the atmosphere in our house light and fun filled. We keep joking with each other.


What is the secret of Puneet’s positivity in most situations in life? He is a very friendly person with cheerful temperament.  Self-reliance and emotional well-being has always been the focus in his upbringing. There has been years of nurturing relationship between Puneet and myself. He has and still continues to respond to my needs and difficulties and vice versa.

Puneet was never forced into doing things. All do’s and don’ts were explained with simple reasoning. He was helped in understanding various options and final choice was left to him. This helped him in being conscious of his needs and likes. It also inculcated a feeling of responsibility with a sense of ownership for what he did.

Learning from Puneet and many boys and girls in Muskaan, I realised the importance of emotional well-being in every child and person. Essential conditions for it are respect for differences, value and appreciation, discipline, sense of responsibility, freedom of choice and competence building.

I started enjoying his world view and it evoked curiosity in me on how our minds and perspectives are shaped. It also revealed the deep conditioning of our minds which make us lose wideness in our perceptions. We adopt a judgemental attitude without recognising and appreciating differences. Slowly with my inner transformation, I developed great deal of respect and appreciation for Puneet. He is a very good companion to me and my whole family.

However, the present situation has heightened my worry and concern about him. What if something happened to us? Limitation is mine. I cannot accept a future for him which makes him live away from family. His sister is in London and the lockdown has closed all aviation facilities. What if he is left alone…

A glimpse of Puneet’s life – home, work and hospital

4 thoughts on “A teacher of life

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  1. I have a son with Down Syndrome. He is 50.
    We have taught him to take things as they come. Sickness or lockdown , he treats them with no different reaction.
    Have treated him as a normal child from the beginning. He is assigned household duties like watering the plants, filling up Aq Guard water, dusting , handling money etc.
    We take him everywhere to parties, get togethers and functions. He is encouraged to take decisions.
    He regularly walks and exercises.
    No special concessions.
    Rakesh Dewan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Sir, Thank you for sharing your personal journey and allowing us a view into your son’s routine. Indeed, this is helpful and very motivating to our readers. Please keep reading our stories and sharing your inputs. Warm regards, Team LV

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  2. Nimmi’s has been an occasionally frustrating but most inspiring story. Due to my service conditions and many transfers, Nimmi was subjected to different languages, even different guardians and schools. However, her true calling was Muskaan, where patience and love/devotion displayed by everyone from Dr Shanti Auluck, Ms Neera Chawla, right upto Ms Pooja Bhati, Nimmi has imbibed and has gradually become a fairly confident being, of course constant reinforcement is required. I have personally become a much better human being, mothering Nimmi, due to gradual downturn of my wife’s health. I was always proud of Nimmi’s achievements and progress. Nimmi was explained many situations in life, how to deal. Last decade has made her more confident when I started taking Nimmi out on travel, by road,my rain and air ( she loves to have Cofee, on the Plane). She happily carries rucksack and keeps pace with me or other helper. I mostly stay in Army units where she feels like a VIP, officers salute her and actually feel satisfied when Nimmi says Muzhe Bahut Mazha Aa Raha hai. There are number of success stories when she has dealt with various situations, cropped suddenly. Because I respect her, my hosts respect her she comes out with unusual one liners.
    We celebrated 2020 Republic Day in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, invited by Governor & his wife who are from my Battalion. She was an absolute VIP there. During lunch, Brig (Dr) Misra coughed a little. Nimmi promptly said, “Jaldi Kya Hai, Dheere Dheere Khayo, Khansi Ho Jayegi”. For couple of seconds there was pin drop silence, his ADCs etc, and then Governor laughed uproarasouly and said, Beta Tu Hi Nera Khayal Rakhti Hai, Baaki Sab Nikamme. Neelamji, Givernor’s wife was particularly happy. They again hosted a farewell dinner, A cake was cut, Nimmi was showered with many gifts and lots of hugs. Neelamji said that Raj Bhavan is lucky to have someone like Nimmi. There have been many more Wow moments because I take her to new destination at least twice a year.
    Nimmi is not bothered about lockdown & with me she walks, does strengthening exercises, draws/colours, cleans for hours, finding Joy in everything, like a Monk. I call her my SIM (Spirituality In Motion). In conclusion, I feel that our extended family must have done something worthwhile that such a pure Soul is amongst us. With Nimmi I feel that Zayada Hai Thode Ki Zaroorat Hai
    Capt VNGautam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Capt, on behalf of our readers, we would like to convey our thanks to you for sharing your inspiring story and giving us a glimpse of Nimmi and her experiences. We would love to keep hearing more from you. Do keep reading our stories and writing to us. – Team LV

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